Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among men. Yet, only about 15% of new prostate cancer diagnoses require immediate and aggressive treatment.1,2
The majority of newly diagnosed prostate cancer cases have low- or intermediate-risk malignancies. For men with low risk malignancies, oncologists sometimes practice “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance,” monitoring parameters such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to evaluate tumor progression.3,4 This approach can delay the need for aggressive treatment, and in many cases is turning out to reduce or eliminate the need for surgery, chemo, or radiation therapy.3
During this period of watchful waiting, there is an additional option that has been shown to lower PSA. A landmark study from the United Kingdom has demonstrated that a combination of four foods—a fruit (pomegranate), an herb (green tea), a spice (turmeric), and a vegetable (broccoli)—concentrated into a pill, dramatically slowed markers of prostate cancer growth by a median of nearly 64%.5
Working closely with the National Cancer Research Network, this formula was developed based on extensive documentation showing how certain foods function to slow prostate cancer growth. We begin this report with a critical review of this groundbreaking study conducted on human prostate cancer patients.
Landmark UK Study: Food Pill Slows Evidence of Prostate Cancer Growth
In June of 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology included in its program a report on a “food pill” that had a dramatic impact on men with prostate cancer.5 For those who don’t know, the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is where many cancer treatment breakthroughs are announced to the world.
The study reported at the ASCO conference was an exploration of the role of four polyphenol-rich foods with known anti-cancer properties.5 The trial development team worked in partnership with the UK government’s National Cancer Research Network, which ensured the highest scientific credibility and quality assurance. They extensively scrutinized the clinical and laboratory data for foods that have a high chance of an anti-cancer effect. They came up with a specific blend of four cancer-fighting foods concentrated into a capsule designed to be taken twice daily. They then set out to test its effect in the most rigorous of scientific trials—a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial within which they examined its effect on prostate-specific antigen, or PSA.
The researchers recruited 203 men aged 53 to 89 years (average age 74 years) with prostate cancer proven by biopsy.5 Fifty-nine percent of the men had not yet undergone any treatment and were being followed closely with periodic PSA measurements, while 41% had already had a radical intervention (surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation) but had relapsed with climbing PSA levels.
The subjects were then randomly assigned to receive either a twice-daily oral capsule containing a blend of pomegranate seed, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli, or an identical placebo for 6 months. At baseline, there were no significant differences between the two groups, except that the placebo group was on average 4 years older than the treatment group. Neither the doctors supervising the trial nor the men knew whether they were taking a placebo or the test product.
The men in the study had their PSA levels measured at baseline, at 3 months, and at 6 months, to determine the rate of rise. The results were remarkable.
In the placebo group, PSA levels rose by a median of 78.5% over the 6-month period, while in the supplemented group, PSA rose by a median of only 14.7%, a statistically significant 63.8% difference.5
In addition, and importantly, 46% of men in the supplemented group had a stable or lower PSA by the end of the study, compared with just 14% of the placebo group; again, this was a significant difference, and suggested that in nearly half of the treated men, their cancers had stopped growing or had even regressed.
In another remarkable measure, just 7.4% of supplemented men being monitored by active surveillance or watchful waiting required a change in management plan, while 26% of those in the placebo group required a change in their management plan.5 In other words, the supplement directly supported the decision to defer care and avoid painful, costly, and invasive procedures in this group of men.
Following the success of this trial, the research team is designing a range of new scientific trials involving this unique fruit and vegetable blend collaborating with academic cancer centers across the world. These include men already taking androgen deprivation therapies, or those in PSA remission following successful primary treatments such as surgery, brachytherapy, or radiotherapy. They are also partnering with clinicians outside the urology cancer field to determine its effect on osteoarthritis, chronic breast pain, hot flushes, and even tinnitus, and hopefully the results of these trials will be available by early 2015.
Let’s now look more closely at each of the ingredients in this new prostate-cancer-fighting food pill, to see what each one brings uniquely to the formula and how each reinforces the other to reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression.