Obese men have an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence and death after radiation therapy, according to a study led by Dr. David Palma at the British Columbia Cancer Agency. Obesity had already been known to predict cancer progression in men who underwent complete removal of the prostate gland.
The researchers examined whether obesity is related to outcome for patients who underwent external beam radiation therapy. They examined three groups, normal weight, overweight and obese. There were no differences in the patients' Gleason scores, PSA scores or cancer stage. Testosterone blood levels were lower in the obese men.
The average time to relapse was 93 months for the normal-weight men, 88 months for the overweight men and 84 months for the obese men. Explanations given by the researchers include dietary factors and changes in hormonal levels.
Compounds in cranberries may improve the effectiveness of platinum-based chemotherapy drugs that are used to fight ovarian cancer, according to a study led by Ajay P. Singh, Ph.D., and Nicholi Vorsa, Ph.D from Rutgers University.
The scientists showed that human ovarian cancer cells in cell culture studies were up to 6 times more sensitized to the drugs after the exposure to the cranberry compounds compared to cells that were not exposed. They treated the cells with a purified extract of commercially available cranberry drink (containing 27 percent pure juice), and then exposed the cells to the platinum drug paraplatin. Human studies are still needed, note the researchers.
The researchers believe that the active compounds are antioxidants called 'A-type' proanthocyanidins that are unique to cranberries. Based on other studies by other groups, the compounds appear to bind to and block certain tumor promoter proteins, making the cells more vulnerable to the platinum drugs.
Half of the 93 men who were in the trial were assigned to a lifestyle program, and others were not. The program included an ultra-low-fat vegan diet, supplements including soy, fish oil, vitamin E, C, and selenium, walking 30 minutes a day for six days of the week and a stress reduction program of an hour a day including yoga, stretching, breathing and meditation.
Within a year, a small but statistically significant difference was evident in terms of average PSA. The average PSA in the lifestyle change group fell while the PSA in the untreated men increased.
While more research is needed before such lifestyle therapy can be recommended in a clinical setting, the journal notes that men with prostate cancer may not want to wait, particularly since these measures are beneficial for general health anyway.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
There's good news for prostate cancer patients who've had the disease spread to other parts of the body -- a new treatments, currently being tried out on hundreds of patients with promising results. The drug is called GVAX and it's referred to as a vaccine, although it doesn't work like most vaccines in the sense that it is administered after diagnosis and progression of the disease. According to this news story, GVAX works by adding prostate cancer cells to the body, but these new cells are unable to replicate.
Several members of my family have battled prostate cancer to varying degrees of success, and I know that it's really widespread. So this is great news, and I hope GVAX is the miracle the prostate cancer is looking for.
The review has found no evidence for an association between eating tomatoes and a decreased risk of lung, colorectal, breast, cervical or endometrial cancer. The review did find limited evidence for an association between tomato consumption and reduced risk of prostate, ovarian, gastric and pancreatic cancer. Based on this assessment, the FDA will allow a limited association on products for these four cancers only.
In an editorial related to the review, Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston suggests that the use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening may influence the data on the association between tomato and lycopene consumption and prostate cancer risk.
Giovannucci states, "Although it may be premature to espouse increased consumption of tomato sauce or lycopene for prostate cancer prevention, this area of research remains promising."
Tomatoes surely remain in the 'good' food category, (well, a nice, ripe, in-season tomato anyway, as far as taste goes). However, it is good to see the FDA review the evidence available to ensure that consumers aren't being swayed by health claims that don't hold up to scientific scrutiny.