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Antioxidant blood levels key to MnSOD gene

PHILADELPHIA Greater levels of selenium, vitamin E and the tomato nutrient lycopene have been shown to reduce prostate cancer in one out of every four Caucasian males -- those who inherit a specific genetic variation that's particularly sensitive to oxidative stress.

Conversely, if carriers of this genetic variant have low levels of these vitamins and minerals, their risk of aggressive prostate increases substantially, as great as 10-fold, over their cohorts who maintain higher levels of these nutrients.

These results, published in the March 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research, were based on the analysis of 567 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1982 and 1995, and 764 cancer-free men from the Physicians Health Study (PHS).

"This large prospective study provides further evidence that oxidative stress may be one of the important mechanisms for prostate cancer development and progression, and adequate intake of antioxidants, such as selenium, lycopene and vitamin E, may help prevent prostate cancer," said Haojie Li, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Destructive molecules known as "free radicals" have been shown to team up with oxygen in the human body resulting in oxidative stress and what some scientists believe is an assortment of age-related ailments. As a result, many believe that consumption of antioxidants can slow that process.

"Our study, as well as many other epidemiological studies, encourages dietary intake of nutrients such as lycopene from tomato products, or supplements for vitamin E and selenium to reduce risk of prostate cancer," said Li.

The initial goal of the PHS study was to assess the effect of aspirin and beta carotene on men's health. Since blood samples collected in 1982 were available from many of the study's participants, the research team decided to review variants for the gene that codes for manganese superox
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Contact: Russell Vanderboom, Ph.D.
vanderboom@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
15-Mar-2005


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