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Spring 2007

Can Drinking Pomegranate Juice Regularly Delay Prostate Cancer?

Drinking an eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice each day increases by nearly four-fold the period during which prostatespecific antigen (PSA) levels remain stable in men being treated for prostate cancer, according to a small UCLA study. The findings were impressive enough to launch a large clinical trial testing pomegranate juice, currently underway at UCLA and 10 other centers across the country.

The initial study, involving 50 patients, found that the average time it took for PSA levels to double among prostate cancer patients drinking the juice was 54 months, nearly four times the doubling time of 15 months at the start of the study. Patients who have short doubling times are more likely to die from their cancer. Pomegranate juice is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants, which are believed to protect the body from free-radical damage. It also contains catechins, natural antioxidant compounds found in green tea, as well as isoflavones commonly found in soy, and ellagic acid, which is believed to play a role in cancer cell death.

“This is not a cure, but we may be able to change the way prostate cancer grows,” says Allan Pantuck, M.D., UCLA urologist and lead author of the study. “If that turns out to be the case, pomegranate juice could be used as an adjunct treatment following surgery or radiation to delay prostate cancer complications and the need for additional treatments.”

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