Spice, certain vegetables may retard growth of prostate cancer

February 2, 2006

Spice, certain vegetables may retard growth of prostate cancer

The spice turmeric, particularly when combined with certain vegetables, appears to hold potential for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer, according to researchers at Rutgers University, New Brunswick/ Piscataway, NJ. The team tested the spice, also known as curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring substance abundant in watercress, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, 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 lead author Ah-Ng Tony Kong, PhD.

In the study, the researchers injected mice with curcumin or PEITC, alone or in combination, three times a week for 4 weeks, beginning a day before the introduction of human prostate cancer cell lines. They found that injections significantly retarded the growth of cancerous tumors, and the combination produced even stronger effects.

In an evaluation of the therapeutic potential of curcumin and PEITC in mice with well-established tumors, the group found that PEITC or curcumin alone had little effect, whereas the combination of the two significantly reduced tumor growth.

The study was published in Cancer Research (2006; 66:613-21).