Cancer protection by pomegranate.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Cytochrome P-450 (Health aspects)
Pomegranate (Health aspects)
Pomegranate (Nutritional aspects)
Prostate cancer (Risk factors)
Prostate cancer (Prevention)
Author: Hunter, Kim
Pub Date: 12/22/2009
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Winter, 2009 Source Volume: 21 Source Issue: 4
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 215249528
Full Text: Kasimsetty SG et al 2009. Effects of pomegranate chemical constituents/intestinal microbial metabolites on CYP1B1 in 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem 57:22;10636-44.

Research on the health benefits of pomegranate has been building steadily over the last few years. As a polyphenol rich fruit juice with high antioxidant capacity, studies have shown it to exert significant antiatherogenic, antioxidant, antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects. It has significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesion areas in immune deficient mice and intima media thickness in cardiac patients on medications. It decreased lipid peroxidation in patients with type II diabetes and systolic blood pressure and serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity in hypertensive patients.

However much of the recent research is focusing on the potential of pomegranate's antioxidants, particularly ellagitannin compounds such as punicalagins and punicalins, to improve prostate health and prevent prostate cancer. According to this study these effects may be related to stopping a liver enzyme that processes environmental carcinogens. The results indicate a previously unexplored pathway through which pomegranate juice constituents may contribute to prostate cancer chemoprevention.

The cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP1B1 is an established target in prostate cancer chemoprevention. Compounds inhibiting CYP1B1 activity are thought to exert beneficial effects at three stages of prostate cancer development, i.e. initiation, progression and development of drug resistance.

The researchers therefore performed an in vitro experiment to test the ability of pomegranate ellagitannins and its microbial metabolites to inhibit CYP1B1. One of the metabolites, urolithin A, was the most potent uncompetitive inhibitor of CYP1B1 exhibiting two fold selectivity over CYP1A1, while another, urolithin B, was a noncompetitive inhibitor with three fold selectivity. The ellagitannin compounds (punicalins and punicalagins) exhibited potent CYP1A1 inhibition with 5-10 fold selectivity over CYP1B1. The study proved that systemically available metabolites of pomegranate juice are effective inhibitors of CYP1B1 enzyme activity and expression and could lower the incidence of prostate cancer initiation and sustenance.

Regarding the benefits of a dietary approach to cancer prevention and treatment, the authors consider that prostate cancer typically possesses long latency periods and develops in older men, therefore cancer chemoprevention by dietary supplement based intervention is a desirable form of chemotherapy.

Pomegranate juice consumption may be of considerable advantage in prostate cancer chemoprevention not only in patients with a genetic predisposition toward prostate cancer but also in patients undergoing cancer therapy.

Kim Hunter MNHAA
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