The scientists tested turmeric, also known as curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring substance particularly abundant in a group of vegetables that includes watercress, cabbage, winter cress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and turnips. "The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers," said Ah-Ng Tony Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
The discovery was announced in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research by Kong and his colleagues at Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, with a half-million new cases appearing each year. The incidence and mortality of prostate cancer have not decreased in past decades despite tremendous efforts and resources devoted to treatment. This is because advanced prostate cancer cells are barely responsive even to high concentrations of chemotherapeutic agents or radiotherapy.
The authors noted that in contrast to the high incidence of prostate cancer in the United States, the incidence of this disease is very low in India. This has been attributed to the dietary consumption of large amounts of plant-based foods rich in phytochemicals nonnutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease-preventive properties.
Consequently, scientists have been investigating intervention options based on compounds found in edible and medicinal plants. They have had some success, and a majority of patients with prostate cancer
Contact: Joseph Blumberg
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey