Compound in fruits, vegetables impacts prostate cancer growth

Jan 05, 2006

A compound found in many fruits and vegetables shows major promise in combating prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison.

A compound found in many fruits and vegetables shows major promise in combating prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison.

Earlier research has shown that lupeol, which is found in strawberries, elderberries, mangoes, figs, grapes, and olives, is effective against tumors in mouse skin. The Wisconsin team aimed to discover if the compound would both kill existing cancer and help prevent a tumor or malignancy from starting or progressing.

Using human prostate cancer cells, the team evaluated the compound's effect in mice injected with prostate cancer cells from humans who later developed tumors. Mice receiving lupeol alone showed significant slowing of their cancer progression and a decrease in PSA levels. However, mice receiving a combination of lupeol and the anti-Fas monoclonal antibody experienced higher prostate cancer cell death.

"Our study, while early, adds to the growing evidence that certain fruits and vegetables contain very powerful agents against cancer, particularly prostate cancer," said lead author Hasan Mukhtar, PhD. "Our hope is that one day we may be able to develop a cocktail fruit platter of products with several chemopreventive substances that are working through different pathways in the prostate cancer development process."

The study is reported in Cancer Research (2005; 65:11203-13).