Latest Prostate cancer research.

Prostate Cancer

The latest cancer news and cancer research information about Prostate Cancer

 

All the latest news on prostate cancer treatments, monthly in Cancer Watch/Research Library. For the cancer facts and cancer information, read on.........just click on the title to read

 

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    Mushrooms help fight breast, prostate and bladder cancers


  • Positive PSA test? One in eight men dont have prostate cancer

  • Three ways to prevent, and even treat, prostate cancer

  • Nanoparticle drug trial to start in 2011 with prostate patients

  • Researchers find breakthrough molecule in prostate cancer

  • Viral cause of prostate cancer? Another vaccine nears launch

  • Oily fish and cooked tomatoes stop prostate cancer spread

    August 2009

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    Tackling inflammation in Prostate cancer

    Inflammation is clearly implicated in the development of prostate cancer in a number of research studies. Conversely there is a decreased risk of prostate cancer in men on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
    Numerous phytochemicals have been reported to interfere with specific stages of the carcinogenic process [1. Some of these phytochemicals like curcumin induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in prostate cancer cells [2 while green tea has been shown to inhibit prostate cancer development and distant site metastasis in mice [3. Similarly, resveratrol has also been associated with inhibition of various cancers.
    Based on the premise that a wide range of phytochemicals in a single formulation are likely to demonstrate greater reduction in cancer cell proliferation than individual molecules administered alone, Dr Red Nutraceuticals Pty Ltd have brought out a Blueberry Punch (blueberry, red grapes, raspberry and elderberry juice concentrates), grape seed and skin extract, citrus skin extracts, green tea extract, olive leaf/olive pulp extracts, tarragon, turmeric and ginger.
    Independent research studies sent to the icon offices on in vitro and in vivo show a dose dependent anti-inflammatory benefit along with the observation that At two weeks of treatment the tumour size in diseased mice decreased by 25% compared with mice (n = 8) that were administered regular tap water as control More research is planned and we will keep you informed.
    1. Surh YJ (2003) Nat Rev Cancer, 3; 768-780
    2. Khor et al (2006) Cancer Res, 66; 613-21
    3. Gupta (2001) PNAS, 98; 10350-10355

    Prostate cancer reduced by the Rainbow Diet

    A new research review (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Volume 53, Issue 2) by urology experts Allison Hodge, MD, and Catherine Itsiopoulos, MD, outlines a host of evidence that associates a reduced risk of prostate cancer with the traditional Mediterranean diet built around a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish and herbs. A low intake of red meat and cows dairy, a good dose of sun, an outdoor life, wine and a colourful life. In fact everything I told you about in my book, The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer.

    Prostate Cancer link to IGF-1shows up shortfall in acknowledged causes

    According to a Cancer Research UK press release, scientists have found that the greater the levels of a protein called Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), the greater the risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Oxford, collected and analysed data from 12 previous independent studies on the relationship between blood concentrations of suspected prostate cancer risk factors, and subsequent onset of the disease. IGF-I levels are influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, so the results of this rigorous analysis could help scientists find ways to reduce mens risk of developing prostate cancer by tailoring advice to men at high risk.

    Lead author Dr Andrew Roddam, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said: There is a need to identify risk factors for prostate cancer, especially those which can be targeted by therapy and/or lifestyle changes. Now we know this factor is associated with the disease we can start to examine how diet and lifestyle factors can affect its levels and whether changes could reduce a mans risk.

    (Ed: This IGF-1 link is not unsurprising to the majority of people who study the subject for example, we know that IGF-1 is linked to hormonally driven breast cancer, so one would expect similarities in hormonally driven prostate cancer.

    What is sad is that Cancer Research seems to think that high IGF-1 levels are your fault because of your lifestyle factors such as diet.

    From research we have covered in icon, we would suggest that it is a shame in blaming your diets that they didnt name names. And we would suggest that they refrain from blaming us for the disease, when one of the biggest causes of IGF-1 growth in our bodies is outside of our control.

    Two of the two biggest ways to increase your IGF-1 levels are via:

    Diet too much Cows Dairy

    Non diet - EMFs.

    Indeed, I wrote to Cancer Research and told them that their Press Release was somewhat misleading but the press office didnt seem to understand. They obviously dont read icon. We have covered the research into Cows Dairy and IGF-1 levels several times. And the effects of EMFs. Now EMF expert Professor Denis Henshaw of Bristol University and his team have sent us a few more references that Cancer Research dont appear to know about.

    Apart from icon covering news that IARC, the International body on cancer in Lyon, are considering dubbing lack of sleep a probable carcinogen (because it lowers melatonin levels, and this hormone controls excesses of IGF-1 and oestrogen in the body); and apart from our review of the UK Government appointed committee findings which, using expert opinion with evidence, we told you were inaccurate, we have copious information on our web site about EMFs and their role in cancer. By contrast Cancer Research has very, very little. But then we adopt a Precautionary Principle that where there is expert opinion and concern supported by research, it is your right to know so that you can act accordingly.

    So apart from the usual breast cancer EMF and IGF-1 studies that we seem to cover every issue in icon (try Melatonin, environmental light and breast cancer: Srinivasan, Spence et al BREAST CANCER RESEARCH AND TREATMENT, 2008, 108, 339-350) here are some that specifically relate to prostate cancer risk:

    Rotating shift work and risk of prostate cancer (Conlon, M, Lightfoot, N, Kreiger, N Epidemology 2007, 18, 182-183);

    Cohort study of cancer risk among male and female shift workers (Schwartzbaum, J, Ahlbom, A, Feychting, M, SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF WORK ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH, 2007, 33, 336-343);

    Light at night, chronodisruption, melatonin suppression, and cancer risk: A review (Reiter, Russel J et al; Critical Reviews in Oncogenesis, 2007, 13, 303-328);

    The anti-tumour activity of pineal melatonin and cancer enhancing life styles in industrialized societies (Bartsch, C, Bartsch, H, CANCER CAUSES & CONTROL, 2006, 17, 559-571);

    Circadian disruption, shift work and the risk of cancer: A summary of the evidence and studies in Seattle (Davis, S, Mirick, DK, CANCER CAUSES & CONTROL, 2006, 17, 539-545);

    Prospective cohort study of the risk of prostate cancer among rotating-shift workers: Findings from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study (Kubo, T, Ozasa, K et al, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, 2006, 164, 549-555);

    Does incidence of breast cancer and prostate cancer decrease with increasing degree of visual impairment? (Pukkala, E, Ojamo, M et al, CANCER CAUSES & CONTROL, 2006, 17, 573-576);

    Intermittent androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, Rashid, MH, Chaudhary, UB, ONCOLOGIST, 2004,9, 295-301).

    I could go on. Perhaps Cancer Research staff could start with these and then visit our web site for more information. And perhaps in future the Press Department will reconsider implying that heightened levels of IGF-1 are a result of your poor lifestyles and diets, and nothing else.)

    MD Anderson to test HIFU with prostate cancer

    M. D. Anderson is participating in the American national Phase II/III trial of HIFU, a non-invasive procedure that heats and destroys the prostate tumour but does not harm surrounding tissue.

    HIFU is another possible treatment approach for men who have small tumours and want to be proactive, says John Ward, M.D., assistant professor in M. D. Andersons Department of Urology and the lead investigator at the cancer center. This therapy has been used in Europe to treat 17,000 men with various stages of prostate cancer, and from that experience it appears to be a promising balance between effective cancer treatment and few long-term side effects.

    Researchers hope HIFU will provide some men with a treatment that doesnt require an incision and poses less chance of damage to healthy tissue around the tumour.

    Although HIFU is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in America, it is widely practiced in Europe, Latin America, China, Japan and Canada. Ward says many men from the United States travel to other countries for the procedure. This experience is quite common for men with prostate cancer in the UK too where the treatment seems a new and similarly untested option.

    Physicians around the world have safely and effectively used HIFU for many years, Ward says. However, we need this domestic trial to demonstrate HIFUs place among many other effective and proven treatment options.

    At MD Anderson, the study will compare HIFU, which uses heat, to cryosurgery, which uses freezing, to determine if they are equally effective in killing prostate tumours.

    The HIFU procedure, which uses robotic technology, takes two to three hours to complete.

    A dual-action ultrasound wand is inserted into the rectum next to the prostate. First, the ultrasound waves locate the prostate and divide it into precise treatment zones. Then waves are focused on the treatment area. They heat tissue to between 80 degrees and 100 degrees Celsius, resulting in its destruction.

    Prostate Cancer is it more than one disease?

    A mega-study in the February 2008 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, using data from 18 different studies of naturally occurring sex hormone levels in men found no significant link between blood levels of any one endogenous hormone and prostate cancer.

    Basically the conclusion was that there are no conclusions. Overall levels of prostate cancer do not seem to be linked to any endogenous hormone.

    This is quite possible. At CANCERactive we have been telling you that your cancer is as individual as you are some cancers are driven by oestrogen, some are driven by poor diet and too much salt or hormones in cows dairy, some cancers are driven by changes to stem cells. And some cancers are driven by chemicals. The breast cancer scientists know this is true. They have developed a variety of treatments for the different types of breast cancer. But sadly with prostate cancer treatment is typically one size fits all. But it doesnt.

    The research did not look at hormones arising outside the body typically chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen. We have previously covered expert research in icon that detailed chemicals that were linked to prostate cancer, and how some men have genetic characteristics that make them more susceptible. The most potent are xenoestrogens arising from pesticides, herbicides, phthalates, BPA (now banned in Canada) and so on.  

    In our view, for this reason this mega-study is flawed.  We also think another reason [it is flawed is that it only looked at levels of hormones in the blood. Saliva testing is much more accurate. Dr. David Zava of ZRT Lab, who has run thousands of saliva and blood spot hormone tests for men and tracks results in a database, consistently finds that men with prostate cancer have low testosterone, low DHEAS, and elevated oestradiol, the aggressive form of oestrogen.

    Meanwhile, conventional medical treatment is limited. But dont just take my word for it: According to a recently released report from the American Governments Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) it reviewed 592 published articles and compared eight commonly used prostate cancer treatments Not enough scientific evidence exists to identify any prostate cancer treatment as most effective for all men, especially those whose cancers were found by PSA testing."

    Prostate cancer is usually (95 per cent of cases) slow growing and at CANCERactive we argued for active surveillance as the norm for two years before the Royal Marsden started to recommend it. We have argued for HIFU ultrasound if the cancer is confined to the prostate, and for alternative treatments such as Professor Ben Pfeiffers Natural compound therapy to be properly evaluated. More can be found on our web site in our overview described by two American oncology experts as the best review on any charity web site.
    People often ask me what I do in the hope of avoiding prostate cancer. So here goes:


    • I try to avoid pesticides, herbicides and other xenoestrogens in toiletries, and personal care products.

    • I take fish oils daily

    • I take Aloe Vera daily

    • I take curcumin, resveratrol, garlic, chlorella and melatonin/asphalia daily

    • I take vitamin D daily if Im not in Thailand where I live

    • I take 15 mgs of zinc and 200 micrograms of selenium daily

    • And I stay below 82 kgs for my 5 feet 11 inches, and exercise regularly

    • I avoid fried food, eat lots of vegetables and fruit, and for breakfast I eat home-made muesli (nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, sprinkled with soya lecithin and linseeds) the flaxseed oil, vitamin E and lignans are all supposedly protective.

    • Once every three months I take a course of Astragalus, Echinacea and Cats Claw to boost my immune system.

    German research confirms selenium helpful with prostate cancer

    Two recent studies, both on AIDS, (one from UCLA, and another from Penn State, Journal of Biological Chemistry) have confirmed what we have told you before. That Astragalus is better than the anti-viral drugs, without the side effects; and selenium also stops viral replication through the action of selenoproteins. HIV actually targets these special proteins, but taking selenium protects them. Many substances bind to proteins but selenium actually bonds within the protein structure in selenoproteins.

    Now German scientists from St. Josefs-Hospital in Wiesbaden have stated their research findings on the role of selenium in preventing prostate enlargement and prostate cancer in the Swedish medical publication Acta Oncologica.

    The scientists found that whole blood selenium levels were significantly lower in all men tested who had benign prostate hypertrophy or prostate cancer. In a second study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, experts suggest selenoproteins have powerful anti-oxidative and  anti-inflammatory effects that could make them important in preventing prostate and colorectal cancers.

    Supplementation up to a level of 200 micrograms per day is recommended. Greater amounts can lead to toxicity. Natural sources include whole Brazil nuts in their shell (banned for sale by the EU), whole brown rice, whole grains, organic eggs and nuts like walnuts.

    New test to replace or enhance almost worthless PSA screening test?

    An international collaboration between researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research and Sloan-Kettering, New York could pave the way for a test to be used to better tailor treatments and hopefully extend the survival of men with aggressive forms of metastatic prostate cancer. In a major study (Cancer Clinical Research - available online Oct 1) involving 231 patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment and sixty-five clinical centres in Europe and the U.S.
    analysis of Circulating Tumour Cells (CTC) were found to be more effecting as a prognosis of prostate cancer and an independent indicator for overall survival of the disease.

    Lead researcher Dr Johann de Bono at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital says: "CTC testing, used in conjunction with the existing prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, may allow doctors to more accurately evaluate the effect of treatment on a patients tumour."

    The PSA test has been widely adopted as the benchmark test for prostate cancer in the UK, but it is not always possible to identify a clear relationship between a raised PSA level and the status of the disease. In the USA some experts are even more cautious. Indeed, the PSA test has been increasingly criticised in the USA as little more than indicative of an enlarged prostate, with at least one US Professor stating that it was almost worthless as a prostate cancer indicator. A new US study (led by Dr. Eric Singer, chief of urology at the University of Rochester) of 1300 men showed that readings fluctuated wildly if men had been using even the mildest (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin. Worse, another US study (Associated US Press) showed that where a high PSA reading had been used to send the patient for a needle biopsy (known to be capable of even spreading a cancer), the majority of biopsies proved negative.

    Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) are cancer cells that have broken away from an existing tumour and have entered into the bloodstream. The presence of these cells in the blood provides valuable insights into disease progression.

    The test has been cleared by the FDA in the United States to determine the prognosis of patients with metastatic breast, colorectal or prostate cancer. It has already been incorporated into several prostate cancer drug trials that are taking place at The Institute and The Royal Marsden.

    Three research studies on Prostate cancer are we barking up the wrong hormone?

    1. Another drug to cut testosterone in prostate cancer

    A new designer drug that cuts out an enzyme which is essential in the production of testosterone, has passed its clinical trials with flying colours, increasing life expectancy in men with even advanced prostate cancer. A spokesperson for the Royal Marsden stated that Deprived of the male hormone, testosterone, prostate cancer usually withers and dies.

    Unfortunately, this statement seems very much at odds with real life, where men who have their testosterone cut off, often find their problems returning after a while: In the last copy of icon St Barts were saying that they had no treatment effective for such advanced prostate cancers.

    Hitherto standard treatment involves chemical (or even in some cases physical) castration. Now the new drug, abiraterone seems to be a new and more powerful way of eliminating male hormones in prostate cancer as it knocks out an enzyme, CYP1Z which is essential to androgen production.

    (Ed: More powerful than castration? Now theres a concept.)  Apparently, research has shown that many castration resistant cancers are driven by an oncogene EGF. In the cancer cell, EGF gets stuck to a promoter of a different gene ERG. And this is sensitive to androgens. The study at the Royal Marsden showed that the drug worked well in five out of the six patients who had the stuck EGF/ERG arrangement. Dr Attard, lead researcher, says that by testing people for this combination they will be able to focus on a group of people with a higher response rate.

    Apparently, they hope to see if this hormone reducing drug can work in other cancers too.

    2 Anti-oestrogen drug to prevent Prostate cancer

    Recent research at Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York has shown that the anti-oestrogen drug, finasteride, commonly used to treat enlarged prostates, decreases the risk of prostate cancer by nearly 25 percent. When the original results of the study, known as the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, were initially released in 2003, the good news was tempered by the fact that the study also revealed a small but statistically significant increase in the number of aggressive, high-grade prostate tumours in the men from the study who were taking finasteride.

    However two new analyses of the studys data show that finasteride definitely decreases the risk of all types of prostate cancer, even for those men with high-grade tumours.

    3 Diabetes link to lowered testosterone and less cancers

    Men with diabetes have lowered levels of testosterone. Now a clinical trial from the University of Sheffield has revealed that a topical, gel-based testosterone replacement therapy could improve not only the sufferers response to insulin, but also seems to improve their sex lives as well. Dr. T. Hugh Jones trialled Tostran, a testosterone gel and found that insulin sensitivity and erectile function improved over the course of 6 - 12 months.

    (Ed: Comment three pieces of research from different sources. The last may even seem irrelevant if you have cancer but to me it just seems to confirm my personal view that prostate treatment in the UK might be barking up the wrong hormone. Two top UK prostate experts have told icon in the past that prostate cancer is caused by high testosterone. This is clearly rubbish - If it were the case, every 16 year old male would have prostate cancer. 

    Numerous studies (e.g. from Singapore, Monash, and Concord in Australia and MD Anderson, Texas) have shown that a mans testosterone declines with age, but his oestrogen increases, and that the cause of prostate cancer is the increased oestrogen acting on the remaining testosterone turning it into a very aggressive chemical called DHT.

    Personally Id rather cut my increasing female hormone, than my decreasing male hormone. It may not be much at my age but Id like to keep what I still have! Professor Ben Pfeifers therapy seems to do exactly this and work.

    Lets be clear of course cutting testosterone stops DHT production; but then so would cutting oestrogen to zero too.)

    Prostate cancer eat garlic, leeks and onions

    On the National Cancer Institute web site you will find the results of some of their own research showing that eating garlic, onions and leaks halves the risk of prostate cancer. Lead by Dr Ann Hsing the research also came out in favour of lycopene from tomatoes too. The quantity of garlic causing this impressive level of protection was 10 gms or about two and a half cloves. And it is better to eat it raw as the benefits are considerably weakened in cooking.

    Cancer risk with Dairy Again

    icon has covered research before on links to ovarian, breast and prostate cancers. Now research from New York, where 5,000 people were followed for 65 years suggests that those children who grew up in families with the highest Dairy consumption (nearly two cups per day each) had close to three times the risk of colorectal cancer later in life. The study led by Dr Jolieke van
    der Pols of Queensland, looked at children from England and Scotland.

    US Doctors wont use chemotherapy on themselves

    McGill Cancer Centre scientists sent a research questionnaire to doctors and oncologists prescribing chemotherapy.  One question asked: Which of the following six chemotherapy regimes would they use if they had a particular cancer?  Rather than selecting one, or replying that there was a better alternative 64 out of the 79 doctors replying stated that they would not consent to being given a chemotherapy drug because of the general ineffectiveness of chemotherapy and its toxicity.

    Satraplatin shows effects in hormone-refractory prostate cancer

    Satraplatin is currently awaiting FDA approval in the USA after coming through Phase III Trials where it successfully reduced progression in Hormorne-Refractory Prostate Cancer. (Prostate Cancer Symposium, Orlando Florida Feb 22 2007). 950 patients who had previously had a treatment which failed were randomized for the trial. Study leader Cora Sternberg (SCF Hospital, Rome) says that this will be an important addition to what are really very limited treatment options for the disease. There are the usual side effects from nausea to thrombocytopenia. (Ed: We urge readers to look into Professor Pfeifers treatments too on our web site)

    Memmorial Sloan-Kettering announces Prostate prediction tool

    The sheer volume of possible treatments often further complicates the problems of having prostate cancer. To help patients through this minefield scientists and statisticians at a top US cancer center have developed a prediction tool (their word, not mine) computer model to advise on the best possible treatment for that patient and that particular cancer. Its called a nomogram.

    The prostate nomogram cannot definitively answer the complicated question of which treatment is most appropriate for an individual patient. It simply provides information that may be useful for the decision-making process, which should be carried out in consultation with a physician.
    The new prostate nomogram is divided into three main tools -- Pre-Treatment, Post-Radical Prostatectomy, and Hormone Refractory -- and includes survival statistics up to ten years following treatment. Youll find details on their web site.

    Prostate cancer confusion rules

    Just when hospitals both sides of the Atlantic seemed to be agreed that patients should not rush into prostate treatment and instead carefully watch the situation, comes a report from Sloan-Kettering that seems to say the opposite; a research report suggests older men with early prostate diagnosis live longer when they have the treatment!!  The study, published in December 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed 44,630 men over 65 who were diagnosed from 1991 to 1999.  32,000 had surgery, 12,600 went for positive observation.  However, 37 per cent of the latter group died compared with 23.8 per cent of the group who went for treatment.

    (Ed:  We suggest all patients who are contemplating surgery to deal with a localised problem look into HIFU ultrasound treatment.  The therapy is far less invasive or damaging and has a much faster recovery time.  You can read more on our website  )

    Eat tomatoes with your broccoli for prostate relief

    We have told interested parties for prostate cancer, in the past, about the benefits of lycopene, most usually found in tomatoes (especially available from cooked tomatoes); and of the benefits of indole 3 carbinol and sulphuranes from broccoli (indole 3 carbinol can convert aggressive oestradiol to safer oestrone, while sulphur compounds have been shown to actually restrict the growth of cancer cells).

    Now the University of Illinois has shown that eating both in the same meal has an even greater benefit than just one of the two alone.  John Erdman, Professor of Food Science at the university said they were quite different substances and dont have to be eaten together to provide benefit, but when combined they are very complementary because they work on different anti- cancer pathways.

    The tests were performed on rats and those given the broccoli/tomato combination had better results than those on drugs (notably finasteride an oestrogen inhibitor).
    (Ed:  Julie Clark of CRUK, in response to this research, merely noted the benefits of a balanced diet.  It is high time more detailed attention, brainpower and funding were provided for these important studies in the UK.  It is too easy for our medical experts to ignore overseas findings ).  (The Times: Dr Mercola, Cancer Research Jan 9th 2007).

    Brachytherapy effective, but denied to prostate patients

    In a study carried out at St Lukes Cancer Centre in Guildford, 300 patients treated with low dose brachytherapy - between March 1999 and April 2003 - showed that 93 per cent had survived for 5 years after early stage prostate cancer, and of those with normal erectile function after the procedure, two thirds remained functioning two years later. (The report did not say what percentage stood up to be counted at the start).

    Brachytherapy typically involves a 24 hour stay in hospital and general anaesthetic.  A needle inserts roughly 100 tiny radioactive seeds into the prostate gland.  NICE supports the procedure, but Professor Stephen Langley of St Lukes says that may PCTs are simply not funding it.

    Finasteride and Prostate Cancer

    As we have reported in these columns before, research from Monash and Concorde in Australia, Singapore and Japan and then from the University of Texas has all shown that, to develop prostate cancer, a male must have both testosterone and oestrogen present (oestradiol).  The oestrogen converts safe testosterone into dangerous DHT and it is the latter that causes the cancer development.

    Several studies in the past have shown that anti-oestrogen drugs such as Finasteride could play a significant role by reducing the aggressive oestrogen.  However, in a 2003 trial there was a report, again covered in icon, that in some cases the use of Finasteride sparked a very aggressive form of the cancer, despite the positive results in the majority of cases.

    Now come clearer results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 2006 98: 1128-33); a much larger study.

    Both Dr. Ian Thompson of University of Texas and Dr. Jeffrey Holzbeierlein (University of Kansas) have noted that Finasteride seems to have a double action: Lowering the PSA levels in males where oestrogen has resulted in an enlarged (but not malignant) prostate, and increasing PSA levels where malignancy is present.  This serves to make detection far easier.

    Finasteride may affect sexual dysfunction.  (Ed: Quite where this takes us in practice is unclear).

    Drug Implants For Prostate Cancer

    GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists have been used for some time to suppress testosterone in prostate cancer cases. Now in the Journal of Urology 2006, 175; 1353-58, comes a report of an implant of histrelin which suppresses testosterone and lutenising hormone for up to one year. Suppression for the 52 weeks was achieved in 99 per cent of cases, and the PSA scores decreased rapidly (down by a mean 90 per cent after 16 weeks). After 60 weeks 79 per cent of patients had a complete PSA response.

    Men With Higher Levels Of Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants Are At Greater Risk Of Prostate Cancer

    Men with cancer and PSA levels above the median were more likely to have elevated concentrations of PCB 153, HCB, p,p-DDE, transchlordane, MD6, trans-nonachlordane, and sum of chlordanes (statistically significant, p < 0.05).

    In this subgroup the odds ratios were 30.3 for PCB 153, 9.84 for hexachlorobenzene, 11 for trans-chlordane and 7.58 for chlordane type MC6 were also significantly higher although confidence limits were very wide because of the small sample size. (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 16 July 2006)

    Barts Hospital Holds Prostate Trial Using Natural Therapy

    Professor Tim Oliver at Barts Hospital, London, is conducting a 10 person trial on prostate cancer, using a protocol devised by a Professor Pfeifer in Switzerland. This protocol involves all natural compounds, including Biobran, ProstaSol, Imupros and Curcumin complex, all supplied by the Really Healthy Company.

    The trial follows an interesting personal story involving Al and Faith Smith. Al (71) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2004. The cancer had already spread and he was prescribed the usual hormone therapies. However he was concerned over side-effects and that - in more than 50 per cent of patients - the body stops responding to the drugs after a few years.

    Faith (56), a writer, insisted Al try complementary therapies like Qi gong, and they visited the Bristol Cancer Help Centre.

    After an initial period of remission, Als aggressive cancer returned and his PSA levels rocketed. Faith started her research into prostate cancer and this led her to Professor Ben Pfeifer, director of clinical research at the renowned Aeskulap Clinic in Switzerland. Pfeifer specializes in combining conventional and complementary cancer therapies.

    Pfeifer has had great success in treating prostate cancer with a phytotherapy protocol of four supplements:

    ProstaSol: a range of herbs and dietary supplements.

    Imupros: containing vitamins, trace elements, lycopene, ginseng and green-tea extract.

    Curcumin complex: an extract of the powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory Turmeric.

    Biobran: made from mushroom enzyme action on rice bran, and has powerful immune-boosting abilities.

    A one-year full clinical trial involving 184 patients with advanced and late stage prostate cancer saw two-thirds with decreased symptoms: PSA levels were reduced by up to 50 per cent, tumours shrunk and progression was inhibited.

    The results then prompted a pan-European 5-year trial involving 1,250 men. Again, two- thirds of the men had a greatly improved condition.

    Faith contacted Pfeifer, but found that the supplements cost 500 per month, and they were not available on the NHS. So she decided to take all the information on the protocol to top UK Doctors - and this led her to Professor Oliver.

    Professor Oliver became interested by two factors - the pan-European research results and the fact that the protocol did not cause impotency. "Finding a treatment for men who no longer respond to conventional hormone treatment is the holy grail of prostate cancer. There is nothing I can offer these men in the long term. The average hormone therapy lasts two to four years".

    The NHS would not fund the trial - more accurately this is a preliminary test not a trial- so Faith contacted the UK distributors (www.healthy.co.uk) who agreed to provide the supplements for free. Pfeifer agreed to liaise with the team at St. Bartholomews and provide all his experience and knowledge.

    Al is the first British patient to take up the protocol. After just two weeks his PSA had halved and today it is below 7, having started at over 40. Als story can be found on: www.prostatecancernow.org

    Oliver is quite clear, "If I can confirm Pfeifers findings, we will do a further clinical research trial, properly approved and documented".

    For more information on Pfeifers protocol, see www.clearfeed.com/pfeifer.

    (Ed: We will stay with this story for the sake of all our readers with prostate cancer. We sincerely hope this progresses to a full clinical trial and that, now vitamins are classed as drugs, the NHS has the sense to fund the treatment. It is but a quarter of the cost of Herceptin and even less than the hormone therapy it replaces).

    Barbequed Meat Increases Prostate Risk

    Yahoo News, April 3 2006, reports that a compound PLIP, formed when meat is cooked until it burns or chars increases genetic mutations in the body. Rats fed charred meat within their diets for eight weeks had such mutations in their intestines, spleens and prostates. (Ed: In previous issues we have covered the problems associated with barbeques like the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines - linked to increases in colon cancer - and cooking to high temperature and the formation of acrylamides).

    Omega-6 Fatty Acids May Increase Prostate Cancer Growth

    Over 100,000 years ago humans used to consume 1 unit of omega-3 for every 1 unit of omega-6 and 9 put together. Today, the modern diet of a New York lady has made this ratio 1:50.

    Now Cancer Research (Feb 1st 2006; 66; 1427-1433) has covered research that omega-6 fatty acids actually accelerate the growth of human prostate tumours.

    The study found that omega-6 - available in supplements and vegetable oils like corn oil, canola, sunflower and soyabean oils - caused human prostate cancer cells to grow twice as fast in vitro tests.

    (Ed: Once again, we must tell you to focus on oils like olive and walnut; and that it is unwise to supplement with omega-6; the human diet in 2006 doesnt need any more omega-6. It needs more long-chain omega 3, i.e. oily fish).

    Prostate Cancer - Aggressive Therapy Unnecessary

    Aggressive therapy appears to be unnecessary in low-grade prostate cancer, according to over 20 years of analysed data, in the Connecticut Tumor Registry, USA.

    Researchers found that men with low-grade prostate cancer (Gleason score 2-4) had just a small risk of prostate cancer progression, even after 20 years. At this point their risk of dying from prostate cancer was less than 6 per 1000 person-deaths.

    (Ed: Our message has been consistent: Dont panic and rush into aggressive treatment, if diagnosed).

    Killing Cancer With Ultrasound

    As readers know, we have been providing a lot of information on hypothermia and the ability of ultrasound to kill cancer cells. We see this as quite possibly one of the treatments of the future for cancer. By and large it is non-invasive, takes only a couple of days (for prostate cancer it has an 87 per cent plus 5-year survival rate compared with the norm of 56 per cent in the UK) and it can be used to treat a variety of cancers.

    We have presented articles on Dr John Holt in Australia, on Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, UK (where Consultant Urologist - Stephen Brown is undertaking the UKs first controlled test with prostate cancer), on its use with kidney cancer and on the 61 centres around Europe using High Intensity Ultrasound (HIFU). Many of our readers have expressed an interest in the treatment.

    Now in our postbag comes a leaflet and DVD on Haifu. So whats the difference? Well, for your information I will quote directly from the literature received. (In other words dont hold me accountable for the answers!

    Can the process kill cancer cells?
    The cancer cells in the area treated are killed.

    How long does the treatment take?
    It can take several hours depending on the size and position of the tumour. With very large tumours it may take more than one session.

    What are the side effects?
    Following treatment there may be some minor skin blisters, some swelling over the treatment site and at least half the patients describe some pain. Like any treatment conducted under a general anaesthetic there is always some risk.

    Does the process hurt?
    During the treatment the patient is asleep under anaesthetic and will feel no pain.

    How long do I have to stay in hospital?
    Every patient so far has been able to go home the following day.

    Can HIFU be used to treat any other forms of tumour?
    HIFU has been used to treat a variety of tumours including liver, kidneys, soft tissue tumours, breast, pancreas, uterine fibroids and, using other kinds of machines prostate tumours.

    Does it stop me having any other kinds of treatment?
    No. Currently, due to the nature of our (sic) clinical trials most patients have had other treatments prior to HIFU.

    How long has this technology been available?
    Its been used in China since 1977 and the Oxford Churchill Hospital has had the only unit in the Western Hemisphere since 2001.

    Whats the difference between HIFU and Haifu?
    HIFU is an acronym of High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound. Haifu is a registered brand name owned by the Changqing Haifu Technology Company, China.

    The literature sent to me supplied the following contact details Ultrasound Therapeutics Ltd, Suite 2, 1st Floor, New Mansion House, 173/191 Wellington Road South, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 3UA, England. (Tel 0161 477 6111).

    Prostate Cancer - Aggressive Or Slow

    The biggest problem with prostate cancer is picking out the fast growing ones. They only account for about 5 per cent of all prostate cancers but hitherto there was no accurate test. The PSA test, according to researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in the USA, may be high but only one third of men may actually have cancer cells in their prostate. Now a test has been developed for MDM2. This protein is involved in regulating all growth and is associated with a doubling of distant cancer spread. Early days - but well keep you posted.

    Finsteride Can Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

    Weve covered this before in icon . Localised oestrogen causes prostate cancer; there are lots of studies confirming this.

    Finsteride, an anti-oestrogen drug, can reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer by 24.8 per cent (Cancer, Feb 28, 2005), as it can reduce the size of the prostate and also cut localised oestrogen levels. However in some unexplained and extremely rare cases it can cause high-grade prostate cancer. This new research says benefits outweigh risks. (Ed: See our special feature on Prostate cancer drugs.)

    Prostate Cancer Risk Outlined

    In May 2005 the Fox Chase Cancer Centre in Philadelphia published a study on prostate cancer, calcium and dairy (3,600 men).

    Men having the highest dairy consumption were 2.2 times more likely to develop cancer than those who consumed the least.

    Men with the highest intake of dietary calcium were also 2.2 times more likely than the lowest consumers, to develop the disease. (Ed: We have already run articles and research studies on the link between IGF-1, found in dairy, and cancers like breast and prostate. For example, Swedish research in 2001 showed a direct line graph link between volume of dairy consumed and risk of prostate cancer.)

    PSA Tests Under The Cosh Again

    Sloan-Kettering have completed a 4-year study involving 1000 men with an average age of 62. More than 20 per cent had PSA readings high enough to prompt a biopsy. However in the follow up reading half had their PSA levels return to normal. The recommendation? Dont rely on one reading. Have another at least two weeks later.

    (Ed: and several more!! The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle believe that dodgy PSA tests are responsible for at least 40 percent over diagnosis of prostate cancers.)

    Ultrasound - A Real Breakthrough In Prostate Cancer Treatment

    In the last issue of icon we briefly covered the news of this breakthrough therapy. Life moves on apace. On March 18th in an Istanbul conference, the European Association of Urology (EAU) launched a club of top Urologists across Europe to support and develop this highly promising, non-invasive treatment.

    To date over 7,000 patients have been successfully treated using this therapy, in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland and now the UK.

    The therapy involves the use of High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU) and is called Ablatherm.

    The treatment lasts for about one and a half hours with patients being admitted the night before and leaving hospital two to three days later.

    An endorectal probe is introduced while the patient is under general or spinal anaesthesia. Ultrasound scanning is used to locate the exact area of infection and then high intensity focussed ultrasound transmissions are applied to raise the temperature of the localised area to 85o to 100oC. This induces necrosis of the affected prostate tissue. Reports suggested that the tumour and infected cells liquefy. The treatment is a precise local treatment, involving in just one session and is minimally invasive with no side effects. Only a few complications have been reported to date and patient recovery time is short.

    Furthermore the treatment can be used selectively on certain areas and may be repeated. To date it has been used on patients for whom surgery was not an option, or those where radiotherapy had failed and recurrence had occurred.

    "HIFU Technology for the treatment of prostate cancer is very promising, as is demonstrated by the high rate of success that we experienced in Munich", stated Dr Stefan Throff of the Krankenhaus Mnchen Harlaching. That success is a staggering 87 per cent without relapse at five years.

    Another positive of the treatment is that nadir PSA is reached after only 3 months and so success is more quickly established.

    FDA approval has been sought and the UKs National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidelines on April 1st 2005 for its usage in the UK.

    While 63 centres are working with thetherapy across Europe, the main centre in the UK is Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, where work only started one year ago. The Consultant Urologist is Stephen Brown.

    (Ed: We are totally supportive of this work, and especially of the club formed because a core group of scientists were concerned that this cheap, non-invasive and non-toxic therapy might simply be ignored. With European 5 year survival rates at 44 per cent, this therapy is essential).

    Sound Waves To Treat Prostate Cancer

    A trial involving 150 men in the UK is just about to start, using sound waves to melt away prostate cancer. The treatment uses high intensity focused ultrasound and is claimed to be as effective as conventional surgery or radiotherapy, but with far less risk of incontinence or impotence.

    Indeed research has already taken place in Japan on early and medium stage prostate cancer. This recorded a 70 per cent cancer free patient list after five years. (Ed: five year survival in UK is 43 per cent). The treatment is cheaper and less invasive than current treatments and it can be over in approximately three hours under a local or regional anaesthetic.

    Only 22 per cent of men in the Japanese research complained of sexual dysfunction, whereas orthodox treatment can leave two thirds of men with problems.

    The sound waves heat the tissue to 90C destroying the cancer tissue almost instantly.

    The trial will take place in Oxford and London.

    Prostate Cancer; New Hopes

    Two studies in The New England Journal of Medicine claim Taxotere (docetaxel) could prolong life by a couple of months in men with advance prostate cancer. Nausea and hair loss were common side effects. Professor Malcolm Mason from Cancer Research UK said that, "This is the first time chemotherapy has been shown to lengthen the lives of prostate cancer patients."

    (Ed: Everyone is getting very excited, but the thinking seems a little muddled as yet. Anti-oestrogen drugs have been shown previously to have an effect.)

    Prostate cancer may be managed by injection

    After tests on animals, a team of scientists from Imperial College, London are hoping to move on to human trials, in three to five years for an anti-prostate cancer injection.

    The injection, which is seen more as a holding operation than a cure, is a form of gene therapy which seeks to block the production of male hormones.

    The genes are delivered by a virus which has been rendered harmless.

    For many years high testosterone was thought to be the cause of prostate cancer, but last year studies in Australia and Singapore, previously reported in icon, suggested that both testosterone and the female hormone oestrogen were required. In August 2003 the M D Anderson Cancer Center showed that in fact it was the oestrogen that turned the safe testosterone into a highly active and dangerous hormone DHT.

    Flaxseed worsens prostate cancer

    The American journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2004: 80(i): 204-216) carries a study of 47,000 men where it was found that ALA omega 3 fatty acids seem to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer in men. Those men monitored who developed prostate cancer over the 14 years of trial seemed to have the highest levels of ALA in their blood streams.

    (Ed note: If you read The Tree of Life: An anti-cancer diet you will discover a chapter on eicosanoids. Sir John Vane won a Nobel Prize and a knighthood in 1982 for his work. Although his work then was on aspirin and its effect on these very short lived hormones, it has since been shown that garlic, gingers and long-chained omega 3 has the same effect in turning off the enzyme that produces bad eicosanoids and thus a harmful environment for the cells.

    We have said before that flaxseed contains the inert short-chain version of omega 3 and that research seems to indicate that only 14 per cent can be converted at most to long-chain. Hence it provides little protection. EPA and DHA are the effective active ingredients and there are very little produced from flazseed. It is slightly surprising that the research showed negative results, rather than just zero effect. Vegetarians should read it with interest. Meanwhile fish oils will give you your long chain omega 34.)

    Come again?

    The news all red-blooded men had hoped for has been finally delivered by researchers in Boston. Regular sex can help protect men against prostate cancer. In a report in April 2004 in the Journal of the American Medical Association - and we merely quote the figures - amongst 30,000 health professionals, the norm was four to seven ejaculations per month. Those who had 13 to 20 per month had 14 per cent less prostate cancer; and those exceeding 21 had 33 per cent less. One theory is that the ejaculation flushes out toxins, another is that it helps remove calciferous deposits. (See below on DCIS).

    Over-diagnosis of prostate and breast cancer

    The Guardian (May 26th 2004) reported an article by the Institute for Cancer Research which suggested thousands of men maybe puffing themselves at unnecessary risk of serious side effects - like impotence and incontinence - by opting for radical surgery and other treatments rather than a simple programme of "active surveillance".

    Apparently 11 years of "active surveillance at centres like the Royal Marsden have suggested as many as 50 per cent of all men diagnosed did not need invasive treatment.

    (Ed: Certainly this confirms earlier studies in the USA. The NCI has stated that up to 90 per cent of all cancers maybe slow growing and can be left safety for 10 years or so. Anyone who has seen Chris Woollams on tour will know he covers over-diagnosis extensively in his speech. The problem lies with the PSA test which is anyway only 70 per cent accurate at best and also fails to distinguish between the "tigers and the "pussycats as Colin Cooper of the Everyrnan Male Cancer Research Centre at the Institute confirms. Only 3-10 per cent may be "tigers although you can get these at any age).

    Meanwhile criticism on mammograms and their diagnosis rates came at the American Breast Cancer Congress.

    Apparently half of all diagnosis by mammograms is DCIS. What is this? Answer: calciferous particles found in the ducts. It is neither cancer nor pre-cancer. Indeed according to UCLA only 20 per cent of DCIS, at most, goes on to become breast cancer. Yet the diagnosis can produce fear and inaccurate diagnosis and treatment.

    (Ed: One woman reported to us that she had been given radiotherapy immediately for DCIS).

    There is some suggestion that vitamin D can help remove such calciferous particles. Certainly UCLA and the Royal Marsden both recommend vitamin D for women with breast cancer.

    Viral link to prostate cancer

    Experts at the University of Pittsburg have found that 20 to 40 per cent of men with prostate cancer carry the herpes virus in their blood - almost twice the norm. This particular form is causal to the common cold sore.

    Prostate cancer "speed gene

    The problem with prostate cancer is simple. Is this the normal slow growing version; or the rarer aggressive version? Now scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research have identified a gene E2F3 which could lead to the development of a predictive test. This may well avoid the need to have often unnecessary invasive treatment.

    A vaccine to reduce PSI levels?

    At the International Conference in Boston recently Philip M Arlen, NCI MD talked about a combination of using docetaxel with a vaccine against PSA prostate-specific antigen). The initial vaccination is followed up monthly. Treatment in the trial took 103 days.

    All the patients in the trial had androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer. Two of the twenty-six patients have had PSA declines exceeding 50 per cent.

    The vaccine consists of a recombinant vaccinia virus that expresses the PSA gene, together with a recombinant virus that expresses the B7-1 gene.

    Prostate and skin cancer rates soar in UK

    The Office of National Statistics has just published figures on the most common cancers.

    Over the nine-year period to 2000, prostate cancer rose 62 per cent, breast cancer 8 per cent while melanoma increased 64 per cent in men and 45 per cent in women.

    The reason for the increased prostate incidence was deemed due to increased detection through the PSA test.

    Ed: Interestingly all the rapidly growing cancers are oestrogen driven as we have reported before. The report doesnt show figures for child cancers either As always the researchers give credit to the PSA test for spotting prostate cancers. Yet the PSA test is only 70 per cent accurate, and dairy and exercise, if taken before the test, will result in high readings. The PSA is if anything viewed as flawed and likely to over-diagnose the incidence of a disease where cancer charities in the US say 90 per cent of cases could probably be left for ten years or more without taking any action.

    The main reason these cancers are growing is the plethora of chemicals surrounding us that once in our bloodstreams, mimic the action of oestrogen. This has been understood for over 20 years and the Government takes no action. We continue to report on this huge modern threat to our health. Only last month the WWF report showed heavy levels of toxins in our bodies, confirming the threat reported by the Royal Commission in 2002.

    Cancer killing toxin for prostate cancer

    Cancer researchers at Birmingham University and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham are pioneering gene therapy to treat prostate cancer.

    The tumour is injected with a harmless virus containing a gene call ntr. Once inside the cancer cell this gene produces a particular enzyme called nitroreductase.

    Next a special drug is injected into the patient to react with the enzyme and render it toxic, thus killing the cell, but leaving healthy cells completely unaffected. Professor Nicholas James has already started treatment with cancer patients and claims that this is a very safe and effective way to target cancer cells.

    Green tea and prostate cancer

    According to researchers from Perths Curtin University and Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, China, drinking green tea reduces mens prostate cancer risk by 33 per cent.

    Last year the same research group found that a cup of green tea per day reduced ovarian cancer risk by up to 60 per cent.

    Testosterone and prostate cancer

    Many men are told that their prostate cancer is linked to their high testosterone levels. But research from around the world in 2003 seems to disprove this.

    Firstly, from the Monash Cancer Institute in Australia came research evidence that prostate cancer is actually caused by Iocalised oestrogen, while a second study from the same institute confirmed that both testosterone and oestrogen (oestradiol) have to be present to bring on a prostate cancer.

    Meanwhile the Singapore National Cancer Centre studies show that Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) is also linked to prostate cell proliferation. Last year we covered Swedish research that showed a direct line correlation between the volume of dairy consumed and the risk of prostate cancer. Dairy is a known source of IGF which has a strong interlinking effect with oestrogen.

    Finally from the Concord Cancer Centre in Sydney come research findings that state oestrogen causes prostate cancer and decreased sperm count.

    This is all terribly puzzling to a doctor who contacted us recently. He has prostate cancer and his treatment is anti-testosterone injections. However, on searching extensively for information about testosterone as the cause of prostate cancer he could find no hard evidence at all! Well keep you, and him, informed.

    A gene clue to prostate cancer

    Some men seem to be more prone to the harmful effects of cancer-causing agents (BJC Oct 13th).

    US scientists from the Wake Forest University of Medicine in North Carolina found that a gene CYP1B1 (of which there are 13 variants) had the ability, depending upon its form, to respond to or protect from environmental toxins or natural hormones. Dr Xu, team leader, said "We know that this gene interacts with cancer causing chemicals". One cluster of the gene variants was far more common in men with prostate cancer.

    Prostate cancer affects 24,700 men each year in the UK and Professor Alan Markham of Cancer Research UK says "little is known about what causes the disease".

    A one-off PSA test is unreliable

    Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City designed a research study to determine if year-to-year fluctuations in PSA levels would reveal a single PSA test result to be unreliable on its own.

    Over a 4-year period, researchers collected five blood samples each from 972 men whose median age was 62. More than 20 percent of the subjects were found to have PSA levels high enough for many doctors to recommend a biopsy. Half of those men, however, had follow-up tests with normal PSA levels.

    The Sloan-Kettering team concluded (as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association) that an isolated PSA screening with an elevated level should be followed with an additional screening several weeks later before proceeding with further testing or a biopsy.

    Meanwhile, doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle have estimated that PSA screening may result in an over-diagnosis rate of more than 40 percent.

    FHCRC have completed another prostate study where they recommended that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who reduce their calcium intake may significantly lower the chances of the cancer progressing to an advanced stage. Over and above moderating your calcium intake, FHCRCs research study also found:


    • An association between a high calorie diet and significantlyincreased risk of advanced prostate cancer

    • An association between saturated and monounsaturated fat intake and increased risk of advanced prostate cancer

    • NO association between polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acid intake and increased risk of prostate cancer. (But then at icon we are always telling you about the importance of omega 3 fish oils.)

    Finally, a Stanford University study concluded that men with low blood levels of selenium are four to five times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with normal levels of the mineral (weve told you that before, too!)

    Worryingly for all those men who have been told their prostate cancer is testosterone driven comes the news that statistically there is absolutely no connection. Nor is there any link with the number of sexual partners you may have had. Indeed being single makes you statistically less susceptible than being married or divorced. The only statistic in the Western world of relevance is your age. The incidence increases exponentially once you reach 50. (Sunday Times UK Supplement)

     Heavy, daily drinking increases the risk of high-grade prostate cancer

    Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, have examined the associations of total alcohol, type of alcoholic beverage, and drinking pattern with risks of total, low- and high-grade prostate cancer. They used data from more than 10,000 men participating in the US Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT). They found participants who reported heavy alcohol consumption (over 50 g alcohol/day) and regular heavy drinking (over 4 drinks/day on 5 or more days per week) were twice as likely or more to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer (RR: 2.01, and 2.17, respectively). Less heavy drinking was not associated with risk. They also compared drinking patterns with treatment outcome among men enrolled on this placebo-controlled trial of the drug finasteride. They found finasterides ability to lower prostate cancer risk was blocked in men drinking more than 50g alcohol per day. (CANCER; Published Online: July 13, 2009 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24423)

    Insulin resistence/intolerance found to increase cancer risk

    A while ago, at CANCERactive we told you all about Insulin Resistance. Do you have trouble losing weight? This is a common sign, as are low levels of HDL, high triglycerides, high blood glucose levels and more. And while you are not a true diabetic, the principles seem the same for an estimate of up to 70 per cent of the population, who (frankly) just eat badly. We have also given you a number of research studies showing glucose drives cancer.

    Not surprisingly, insulin resistance is a step along the road to diabetes and heart disease. Now it has been shown to be a step along the road to cancer too.

    New research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, concluded that there is a strong link between insulin resistance and the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York have concluded that the elevated insulin levels linked to insulin resistance result in post-menopausal women having a higher risk of breast cancer.

    The researchers also found that elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels raised the risk of breast cancer by 1.7 times. Increased diastolic blood pressure (the second number when you have your blood pressure measured ) raised the risk of breast cancer 2.4 times.

    Two factors are important here:


    1. Although this research was conducted looking at breast cancer, you can bet this is true for many cancers, male and female.

    2. Yet again it highlights the point we consistently make about the daft sugar-laden diets given to cancer patients in UK Hospitals.
     


    We have complained that the NHS booklet on a diet for chemotherapy shows little drawings of cheese burgers, milk shakes and sticky doughnuts on every page. My daughter was given ice cream and Ribena endlessly in her oncology unit.

    Of course the good news for everyone preventers and people with cancer - is that insulin resistance and blood sugar levels are controllable and reverse-able. Just change your diet!!!

    I will list here for everyones benefit some of the tips from my book The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer:


    • Eat six small meals a day, not one or two big ones

    • Eat whole foods and whole grains (never refined, processed or fast foods)

    • Avoid alcohol, fizzy soft drinks, sweets, cakes, white bread, white pasta, biscuits, chocolate. Diet drinks are especially bad! As are smoothies and purchased fruit juices; even many so-called health drinks.

    • Eat raw most days, on an empty stomach if possible

    • Eat your fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

    • Eat steamed or grilled never fried

    • Avoid Dairy (lactose is a sugar)

    • Take probiotics in several strains

    • Ensure you have no yeast excesses in your body (take cinnamon, oregano, Pau DArco and wormwood).

    • And eat fresh raw garlic.

    Remember, research from North Western shows that if you lose excess weight you reduce risk and even improve survival times.

    The book contains far more detailed advice.

    Being overweight increases cancer risk fact

    Cancer Research UK have just researched 4,000 people and come up with the staggering fact that 97 per cent of people have no idea that being overweight is a significant cancer risk. Of course, had they read our report on the research we conducted 4 years ago they would have known that people havent much a clue what does cause cancer anyway. Indeed we went into all the key issues in our 2004 Cancer Prevention Conference, which was poorly attended by the major charities.

    As we have been telling people for seven years, it all depends which report you read, and how much overweight you are, but to be just 7 kgs overweight knocks over 5 years off your life expectancy, and a whopping 13 years if you smoke as well. .All this is well documented in my book, Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer  indeed it has been there since the first edition some 7 years ago.

    All this comes in parallel with new Swedish research showing overweight women tend to be diagnosed with higher grade cancers than ladies who have restrained their weight.

    One of the real issues is that many overweight people are in denial. We have had ladies write to us with breast cancer and they are 13 kgs over normal weight for their height. One described herself as cuddly, another as being a bit chunky.

    In our original 2004 prevention research, people stated that giving up smoking was important, as was avoiding excess alcohol, and staying out of the sun. As we pointed out at the time, Burning is bad, sunshine is sensible. 4 years ago there was too much bad science coming from cancer charities suggesting sunshine was carcinogenic. In fact there is actually a great deal of research that suggests that a daily dose of sun shine promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and reduces cancer risk. A few people also knew that exercise was a risk reducer. But, in all, few people knew any information about preventing cancer (unlike Heart disease or AIDS) and blame for this lack of information can only be laid at the doors of the Government and the cancer charities. It was in response to this research finding that CANCERactive decided to adopt the Precautionary Principle (that where there is expert research expressing concern, we will pass on that research information so that the people of Britain can make more informed choices). As a result just compare the volume of Prevention Topics we cover against those listed on the major charities web sites. Pesticides? EMFs? Melatonin? Toxic Chemicals, from dioxins to oestrogen mimics in plastic bottles and preservatives?

    Anyone who is unsure of the factors that may increase cancer risk should go to the prevention part of our web site where they will find more information on more possible causes than on any other UK charity web site. As you will see, we have given some weight to the issue of cancer prevention!

    Men more likely to get cancer the issue is why?

    Men are almost 40 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer, reveals a report published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).

    And they are 16 per cent more likely to develop the disease in the first place.

    After excluding breast cancer and cancers specific to one or other sex from the analysis, the difference is even greater with men being almost 70 per cent more likely to die from cancer and over 60 per cent more likely to develop the disease.

    The researchers then looked at the figures, excluding lung cancer as well, because the disease and its main risk factor, smoking, is known to be more common in men.They expected to see that, across the broad range of remaining cancer types, men and women were just as likely as each other to die from and get the disease. But they found that for all of these cancers combined, men were still 70 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer and 60 per cent more likely to get cancer.

    Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour like down-playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle.

    Even rogue cancer DNA repairs itself

    CRUK scientists (Nature) have discovered a sensor which exists even in cancer cells. Some drugs try to damage cancer DNA. This sensor system is actually a family of proteins (alkyltransferase-like proteins or ATLs) warns the cell and activates the DNA repair systems and so the drugs lose their effect.

    Organic foods are better ignore the UK Food Standards Agency

    All over the UK papers comes news of the ruling from the FSA that organic food is no more nutritious than other foods. According to that well known medical journal, the Daily Mail, watchdogs have declared this to be true.

    Claiming to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the value of foods since 1958. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Alan Dangour (a public health nutritionist, no less) who was the lead researcher stated that, Currently there is no research to support the selection of organically produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.

    Spokesperson Gill Fine from the FSA burbled on about, Ensuring people had accurate information and no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic foods.

    What staggers us at CANCERactive is that in order to resolve this very same question the EU has just spent 12 million of tax payers money conducting as near as can be, the definitive Clinical Trial, growing fields of organic food in parallel with normal pesticide and fertiliser-grown crops and then employing top scientists to give us the results. The FSA, which is after all a Government funded unit, ought to know this and use the data. And be clear, Gill: The accurate information is that there is a considerable difference. And this is just from early assessments. The project will continue for a few more years yet, as that is how long it takes to be sure. Professor Carlo Leifert, one of the CANCERactive patrons, is a lead member of the team.We covered the early conclusions in this very magazine.

    The Daily Mail falls into the usual bad science trap too, meandering on about 50 years of research and 50,000 studies. But, the researchers didnt use 50,000 studies, they used, sorry selected, 55 that met their criteria, whatever they were. So one concludes therefore they left out a mere 49,945 studies from their conclusions. Perhaps one was the definitive EU study?

    Then there is Dr Alan no evidence to support nutritional superiority Dangour. I quote about 10 - 15 such studies in my book The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer. Leifert and his team have a hundred more! What planet do these people live on? Al, old chap, there is rather a lot of scientific evidence actually; I cannot believe you think there is none..

    But for the last word we will return to Gill no additional health benefit Fine. All I can conclude is that she finds pesticides tasty and of absolutely harmless. Of course that view would put her directly at odds with the EU, which recently concluded that there were deep concerns and cited health hazards including cancer as a need for more regulation. It is puzzling that Gill ensuring people have accurate information Fine does not seem to be telling you all about  research studies showing that farmers using pesticides develop more multiple myeloma, and another that this is due to the pesticide making pre-cancerous MGUS proteins in the blood, or (for example) that some third world suppliers to British retailers still use the banned pesticides of DDT and Lindane, each linked to higher rates of Breast Cancer. (If she is unsure, she could always trawl through back issues of Cancer Watch for more accurate information.)

    For the record, there is concern that organic foods grown on depleted soils offer little in additional mineral content over mass-farmed foods. How could they? On basic vitamins there is quite a lot of evidence that organic food is superior, but sometimes not by much. The real advantage seems to come in the area of complex natural compounds (like resveratrol, quercitin, omega 3 or polyphenols) where organic foods score much more highly. For example, the use of fungicide negates the need for grapes to produce fungus fighting resveratrol of their own several studies have measured this. And even 10 years ago researchers didnt know too much about these compounds or their health benefits, and so did not research for them. How many such studies were in the selected group?

    Personally I dont think everybody should rush off and buy everything organic we have told you which foods research studies show are more likely to hold their pesticides, and which do not. So in a number of cases there is not a lot to worry about. But red fruits like strawberries and greens like broccoli do need extra caution before using the sprayed versions.

    It is all very sad really. I think that the people, and especially the patients who want to beat cancer deserve better than this. But then, thats why we set up CANCERactive.

    Need to prevent thousands of older people dying from cancer, prematurely

    As many as 15,000 people over 75 could be dying prematurely from cancer each year in the UK, according to research presented today at the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) conference.

    These premature deaths could be prevented if cancer mortality rates in the UK dropped to match countries in Europe and America which have the lowest rates.

    The researchers from the North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) in Manchester compared cancer death rates in the UK with Europe and America.

    They found that over the past decade the numbers of people dying from cancer in the under 75s has significantly dropped in the UK. But, little progress has been made in the over 75s and the gap in death rates with other countries is getting wider.

    Dr Tony Moran, lead researcher from NWCIS, said Its worrying that so many older people die from cancer in the UK compared with other countries. But, its not clear why this is. Research is urgently needed to understand the reasons for the extra deaths so that steps can be taken to prevent them.

    New scientific study reveals flaws, even fraud, in Clinical Trials

    Scientific study. Clinical Trial, Gold Standard. Non Sequetor. Well, at least according to Dr Daniele Fanelli at the University of Edinburgh. In a recent study Fanelli lists findings such as

    Most clinical results are misleading


    • 5 per cent of scientists have admitted falsifying results

    • One third of scientists admitted observing such bad practice in others

    Fanellis report states that the misconduct is more prevalent in clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical research. So much for the gold standard; but then he goes on to refer to the high profits at stake where a few word changes can make all the difference, even if its not fraud but presentation.

    He also comments on studies that criticise vitamins suggesting that all too often, doses used are too low to have an effect, or the where vitamin tested is known not to have an effect on a particular disease whereas another, untested one, is.

    All this coincides with a USA FDA report that reports deficiencies and flaws in up to 20 per cent of US drug clinical trials.

    Vitamin A can reduce damaging effects of oestrogen

    Known to drive many cancers from breast, to colon, to prostate and even some brain tumours, oestrogen causes its damage by binding to cellular receptor sites. Now scientists at the University of Chicago have shown that a metabolite of vitamin A (retinoic acid) can compete with and block this damaging action. Whereas oestrogen causes random and raid cell growth to occur, the retinoic acid was found to normalise proceedings. Professor Kevin White, director of the Institute for Genomics and System Biology at the University of Chicago and his team have even mapped the effects against areas of the genome affecting breast cancer, (published in Cell). In a follow up study the scientists discovered the more strongly a tumour responded to retinoic acid, the greater the chances of long-term survival and a lack of relapse.

    Mushrooms help fight breast, prostate and bladder cancers

    We have covered this claim on several occasions in Cancer Watch before. Two new research studies seem to put it all in context.

    Firstly, from the University of Western Australia in Perth comes research on Chinese women which shows that women who eat 10 gms of button mushrooms a day only developed one third of the breast cancers of women who did not eat mushrooms.

    The reason given was their content of linoleic acid, which acts like an Aromatase inhibitor drug, and restricts the bodys oestrogen production.

    The same study noted that if women consumed green tea as well their risk fell to just one in 10 when compared with women on a normal diet. Green tea has been shown to have a similar oestrogen restricting effect.

    Next, scientists have discovered that the maitake mushroom can shrink tumours by as much as 75 per cent. Maitakes are common in Chinese and Japanese cooking. Hitherto, they have been used to treat blood pressure and liver disease, but some Japanese cancer hospitals have used them as a complementary therapy for a number of years. Researchers, lead by Dr Sensuke Konno, head of urology at the New York Medical Center, have published their findings in the British Journal of Urology (December 2009). Their research showed that with two cancers bladder and prostate the mushrooms could shrink the tumours and in some cases this even resulted in the cancer disappearing. In many of the cases the extract stopped the cancer growth. Researchers believe this is because a particular enzyme was activated which stops cancer growth.

    Previous studies have shown the benefits of these so called medicinal mushrooms with breast cancer. One study by scientists in California (Feb 2009) seems to show that breast cancer patients who eat the mushrooms twice a day, prevent the cancer returning. This is thought due to an active ingredient which reduces oestrogen production.

    The new research from New York Medical Center has been dubbed a breakthrough because it took extracts of the mushrooms in much smaller amounts than previously, but used them in conjunction with interferons, which can significantly boost the immune system. We cover interferon in some detail on this web site.

    Positive PSA test? One in eight men dont have prostate cancer

    Tuesday 12 January 2010, British Journal of Cancer: A large scale European Trial (the European Randomised Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer - ERSPC) has cast serious doubts over the reliability of Prostate Cancer Screening.
    As regular readers will know, we have been reporting on American research and comments that PSA tests are useless and worthless for 6 years or so.
    The new European study states that at least one in eight people who test positive for a high PSA level DO NOT HAVE THE DISEASE.

    The PSA test measures blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by prostate cells.

    High PSA levels may signal prostate cancer, but the protein may also be raised by infection, a non-cancerous enlarged prostate or even recent exercise.
    UK cancer and Government bodies have stuck to the story that a routine PSA test for men may cut deaths from the disease by 20 per cent.

    However, in the European study the Finnish part of the trial has reported that for every eight men screened on a four-yearly basis, one received a false positive result.

    This was true even where the threshold for PSA was set high and above the UK danger level. This result could mean that many men undergo invasive tests such as biopsies (which can cause serious infection and even impotence) and even unnecessary treatment.

    Such false positives, rather unsurprisingly, put these men off further tests in the future, the research found!

    Lead researcher Dr Tuomas Kilpelainen, from the University of Tampere in Finland, told the BBC: "I dont think routine screening should be advised until more is known on the adverse effects and costs of screening. If a man has urinary tract symptoms and is concerned he could have prostate cancer, the most important thing is to consult a GP or a urologist."

    Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, observed that according to the study findings, 48 men would have to be treated in order to save one life and added "False positives are an issue for any screening programme.

    Dont say we didnt warn you! (Source BBC News)

    Three ways to prevent, and even treat, prostate cancer

    At the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer prevention conference in 2009, three ways of fighting Prostate cancer were evidenced. And not one involved a drug or a vaccine!

    (1) The German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg University showed that an active ingredient in hops, xanthohumol, can bind to oestrogen receptor sites. This has already been used in breast cancer treatment with success. Here the researchers said it would also have a positive effect in blocking testosterone receptor sites too. Although early days, they showed that this phytochemical significantly lowered the PSA levels of testosterone-stimulated prostate cancer patients.

    (2) Harvard Medical School have shown a link between higher coffee intake and lowered prostate cancer risk and it is not the caffeine factor. Researchers followed 50,000 men for the 20 years to 2006 and showed that the men who drank the most coffee had 60 per cent less risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Coffee has effects on insulin and glucose metabolism as well as sex hormone levels, all of which play a role in prostate cancer. It was plausible that there may be an association between coffee and prostate cancer," said Kathryn M. Wilson, Ph.D. in the press release. Apparently researchers are considering the anti-oxidants in the coffee.

    (3) Another study from Harvard looked at exercise, and (as we have detailed before with breast cancer) showed that daily exercise is the key. Those men in the group of 2,686 prostate cancer patients who did 30 minutes of daily exercise, (jogging, cycling, playing tennis) had a 35 per cent lowered mortality.

    Nanoparticle drug trial to start in 2011 with prostate patients

    A nanoparticle has been developed that can target a cancer tumour whilst by-passing the bodys immune system. Researchers believe this will allow the delivery of stronger doses of drugs straight into the tumour, reducing side effects.

    Animal studies have shown that this technology can shrink tumours to almost zero no mention was made of curing cancer however.

    The technology has been developed by BIND Biosciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    A trial is planned albeit on just 25 prostate cancer patients late in 2010 or early 2011. The company feel that this treatment will be applicable to all manner of solid tumours.

    Researchers find breakthrough molecule in prostate cancer

    Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have discovered an immune system protein which acts as an antibody to proteins that sit exclusively on the cell walls of prostate cancer cells. By copying this protein they have developed a monoclonal antibody which has the potential to stop even aggressive prostate cancers. So far the F77 protein has only been used to treat mice but researchers believe it has the potential to treat both early and late stage prostate cancers.

    Viral cause of prostate cancer? Another vaccine nears launch

    Utah and Columbia University medical schools have found the xenotropic murine leukaemia virus (XMRV) in 27 per cent of prostate cancer tissue. XMRV is a retrovirus which behaves in the same way to HIV inserting copies of their own DNA into the DNA of the cells they infect. Similarly HPV is known to cause cervical cancer and was found in 2008 to be present in equally large numbers of breast cancers by the University of New South Wales.

    The new breed of vaccines (like those for HPV) attack the virus itself, rather than stimulating the immune system, as with traditional vaccines.

    Whilst drug companies rush to develop vaccines that can be used against large swathes of the population some cancer experts have warned that just because a virus is present does not mean that it is causal.

    Interestingly in the 1930s to 1950s Royal Rife, an American health pioneer developed a special microscope and concluded that there was a virus at the heart of every cancer. He also extracted such viruses and used them to cause other cancers. And he developed a zapper whose frequency depended upon that of the individual virus. His ideas were ridiculed by orthodox medicine. His story can be found on our web site.

    Oily fish and cooked tomatoes stop prostate cancer spread

    Finally, that well known Medical Journal, the Daily Mail, reports on unnamed American research that shows eating tomato sauce at least twice per week and oily fish also at least twice per week reduces both the rate of growth and spread of prostate cancer. In the research, more than one thousand patients with prostate cancer were followed and their outcomes compared with the diet the men consumed. The tomato sauce group had a 44 per cent reduced risk and the oily fish consumers had a 27 per cent lowered rate. (Ed: what is interesting here is that many studies have looked at omega 3 fish oils, indole3carbinol, lycopene in tomatoes and others in the context of prevention. However, here is a real live study on people with the disease and how two of them actually make a real difference stopping growth and spread. Presumably, prostate cancer onciologists are telling all their patients.)

     
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    Prostate cancer treatments may have other side effects
     
     
     
    The Lancet Oncology reports that men with prostate cancer, and men on orthodox prostate cancer treatments are more likely than healthy men to suffer a blood clot.
     
     
     
    The study involved 76,000 Swedish men who were evaluated based on the number of cases of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism and arterial embolism that occurred. Participants on hormone therapy were twice as likely to suffer a pulmonary embolism and two-and-a-half times more likely to have DVT than those who did not receive the treatment.
     
     
     
    Similar results were observed for those receiving curative prostate cancer treatments. Pulmonary embolism risk doubled as a result of the treatment while DVT risk increased by 173 percent.
     
     
     
    Scientists cannot explain how having prostate cancer alone increases the likelihood of a patient suffering from a blood clot, but they do know that conventional treatments increase the risk even more. Some even suggest that the treatments themselves are fully responsible for causing clots. 
     
     
     
    According to reports, up to 50 percent of all patients treated in a hospital are at risk of developing a blood clot in their legs. The clots can spread throughout the body and end up in places like the lungs where they can cause serious damage. 
     
     
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    Aggressive prostate cancer and genetic mutations
     
     
     
    BRCA1 and BRCA2 were originally thought to be breast cancer mutations contributing to the 7 per cent of women where breast cancer is hereditary. They have since been shown to be genes that control DNA reproduction, and immune response. Recent Memorial Sloan-Kettering research has shown that in about 2 per cent of cases of prostate cancer, where the cancer is aggressive and dangerous, BRCA mutations are an important factor. In these the tumours grow and spread quickly, and can be life threatening. Because clinicians lack tools to make precise predictions of a patients prognosis, it is often difficult to estimate from which treatment, if any, a man will benefit.
     

    The team of Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers, led by Kenneth Offit reports that the disease often takes an aggressive course in patients who have inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
     

    For two decades, the investigators collected anonymous DNA samples and clinical data from close to 900 prostate cancer patients complete with ancestry information. The researchers showed that patients who carry BRCA mutations have an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer or having their disease recur after treatment. "Strikingly, we also found that tumors were of more advanced grade in BRCA2 mutation carriers," Dr. Offit said. He and his colleagues are hopeful that the patient group will benefit from a new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, which are being developed for treatment of BRCA-related breast and ovarian cancer
     
     
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    It sounds like a question with an obvious answer. But not according to a more than slightly embarrassing piece of research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Swedish researchers have concluded that if none of the men diagnosed with early prostate cancer had any treatment at all, over 97 per cent would still survive ten years or more! This is grossly at odds with Eurocare-4 showing European 5-year survival figures for treated patients of 45 per cent to 83 per cent depending upon the country.

     

    Back in 2002 CANCERactive led the way amongst UK charities in observing that the great majority of prostate cancers were slow growing and did not need treating. About 4 years later NICE, along with cancer centres from Sloan-Kettering to the Royal Marsden, took the same view.

    This latest study goes even further. After comparing a group of low to mid-risk prostate patients having no treatment with a group having the usual surgery and hormone treatments, some eight years later the death rate amongst men in the no-treatment (active surveillance) group was exactly the same as the figure for the general population!! The researchers stated that after ten years only just over two per cent of men in the untreated group would have died from prostate cancer.

    Ed: Unfortunately, in the UK there is little evidence that the NICE guidelines are heeded, especially if you are a private patient. As an anecdote, I have 6 friends diagnosed with early prostate cancer in 2009/10. All six were private patients, all six had their prostates removed within weeks of diagnosis three because it hadnt spread and surgery would stop any spread (?); and three because it might have already spread! The contradictory science and lack of logic baffles me in both cases. If it hasnt spread leave it alone! If it has, it is probably too late for surgery anyway.

    Meanwhile I have one newly diagnosed friend in his sixties who has done nothing but change his diet, take supplements and exercise for six months. His PSA scores have all tumbled to the point where his GP has now told him he does not need an operation any more!

     

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    Prostate cancer treatment hormones work better with radiotherapy

    Researchers from Cardiff University have analysed data from over 1200 advanced prostate cases in the USA and Canada and shown that, where the patients had both radiotherapy and hormone treatment 90 per cent survived at least 7 years, whereas those on hormone therapy alone had a figure of 79 per cent. In the UK, the researchers said, few men had radiotherapy, but believed this could clearly improve outcomes.

     

    Newly diagnosed prostate patients should not rush in to any treatment just as we have been saying for eight years!

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    Pomegranate juice may stop metastases in prostate cancer

    We have covered several studies in the past which showed how drinking pomegranate juice could lower PSA levels and even reverse prostate cancer. Other studies (for example in Cancer Prevention Research, Jan 2010) have showed that phytochemicals called ellagitannins could prevent the development of hormone-dependent breast cancer and halt the growth of oestrogen-driven tumours. Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have shown that it contains natural compounds that can block metastases.

    At the American Society for Cell Biologys 50th Annual Meeting the researchers found that  phenylpropanoids, hydrobenzoic acids, flavones and conjugated fatty acids in the fruit had the potential to stop cancer cells developing, to prevent metastases to nearby bone cells and even to kill prostate cancer cells. The pomegranate juice increased cell adhesion and thus decreased cell migration to other tissues.

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    Exercise prolongs life of prostate cancer patients

    According to a recent study by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Womens Hospital and the University of California, exercise may help reduce the risk of death in patients with prostate cancer.

    Researchers (Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, et al) analysed data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study where 2,705 men had been diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer over an 18-year period.

     

    Any exercise seems good for you! Men who walked at least 90 minutes per week at a normal-to-brisk pace were 46 percent less likely to die, while men who undertook vigorous exercise like tennis or jogging or bike riding for at least three hours per week had a 49 percent lower risk of death from any cause when compared to men who exercised for shorter periods at an easy pace. (J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jan 4)

     

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    PSA screening does not improve prostate cancer survival

    A new study from the Karolinska Institute (Sandblom, Varenhorst, Rosell, Lofman, & Carlsson. Randomised prostate cancer screening trial: 20 year follow-up BMJ, 342 (March 3, 2011) concludes that population-wide screening using the PSA test would not help reduce the number of deaths from Prostate cancer. 
    There is much criticism of the test in the USA by cancer experts. Here, researchers analysed data on 9,026 men, aged 50 to 69 years, who took part in a trial that started in Sweden in 1987.

    5.7 per cent of men in the screening group were diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared with 3.9 per cent in the control group. Tumours in men who were screened tended to be smaller and were less likely to have spread than those found in the control group. However, survival was not significantly longer or more likely for men in the screening group.

    Researchers even suggested that screening could increase the risk of over-diagnosis and over-treatment (including the problem of harmful side-effects) because many of the small prostate tumours detected by screening are slow-growing and unlikely to cause any problems during the patients lifetime.
    At present, there is no way of telling the difference between the majority of tumours which are harmless and slow-growing versus the more aggressive minority that need treatment. A previous study concluded that 1,410 men would need to be screened and 48 treated to prevent one death from prostate cancer.

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    Prostate cancer 5,900 genes can be wrong!

    A team of Harvard Medical School researchers have decoded the entire DNA in seven prostate cancer patients and compared the chromosome sequences to those of healthy patients. They found that tumours regularly contain DNA with thousands of spelling mistakes, the highest was over 5,900. (Nature)

    (Ed: Of course the press release went on to mumble something about new drugs to tackle errant genes, but for me this just highlights my view that there never will be a single cure for cancer. The lead researcher even stated that they had not appreciated the complexity of the problem before.  What patients need to do is build packages of treatments. Programmes that can offer complementary ways of tackling 5,900 faults. Readers might like to look at our ACTIVE8 Programme for inspiration.)

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    MD Anderson now using HiFu for prostate cancer treatment

    Ablative therapy (using hot or cold fluid to destroy tissue) is being used at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center as one option to treat prostate cancer. You can even listen to John Ward, M.D., assistant professor in the Urology Department, discussing  HIFU, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, (heat) and cryotherapy (cold) as effective minimally invasive treatment choices for prostate cancer patients. On ITunes - Download Heating and Freezing Used to Destroy Prostate Cancer Cells.

    Whatever next?

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    New step forward for prostate cancer treatment using HIFU
     
    CANCERactive has been telling prostate patients about HIFU for nearly 7 years. Now a new study has been released on 5th April 2011. This is the press release:
     
    A paradigm shift in the treatment of prostate cancer has been heralded following the findings of a recent trial of new focal therapy. It appears for the first time in print in the Journal of Urology on Monday 4 April 2011.
     
    Researchers at UCL (University College London) and clinicians at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH),  backed by funding from the Pelican Cancer Foundation and other partners*, have successfully used High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU treatment, to target only cancerous tumours and minimize the damage caused by traditional surgery or radiotherapy.
     
    This is the first trial of its kind to test the idea of a male lumpectomy called focal therapy - for treating prostate cancer. The results showed significantly reduced harmful side effects and positive results in terms of cancer control.
     
    In 20 men with low and medium risk prostate cancer, HIFU was used to target the side of the prostate that had the cancer.  A larger study in over 120 men is now being run across the UK to test whether these results are reproducible across the NHS.
     
    After 12 months, 90 per cent achieved the perfect result called the trifecta status - of having no urine leak, having good erections and cancer free. In fact, 95 per cent of the participants, all UCLH patients, were able to maintain erections sufficient for intercourse and no participants reported back-passage problems.
     
    Early cancer control was also very promising.  Ninety per cent of men had no cancer on tissue samples taken after treatment, while 100 per cent had no important cancer.
     
    At present, men with low to medium risk prostate cancer choosing to have treatment, can undergo surgery or radiotherapy. Both of these destroy the whole prostate regardless of how much cancer there is. By so doing, considerable collateral damage can be caused to sensitive tissues like nerves, blood vessels, back-passage and muscles that control urine flow.
     
    This leads to side-effects such as urine leakage needing pads (in 5-20 per cent of men), impotence (in 30-60 per cent) and back passage problems (diarrhoea, bleeding and pain in 5-20 per cent). Overall, only 50 per cent of men undergoing surgery can achieve the trifecta perfect result.
     
    The lead author of the study, Hashim Uddin Ahmed, Clinical Lecturer in Urology at UCL, said, Prostate cancer has a long natural history this means that the cancer grows slowly. Current treatments cause a lot of harm so focal therapy offers the balance between treating the cancer and minimising the collateral tissue damage. It is the tissue damage to nerves, back-passage and blood vessels that causes the side-effects. By targeting and destroying only the cancer areas, damage is minimised. This marks a paradigm shift in how we diagnose and treat prostate cancer.
     
    Professor Mark Emberton, chief investigator for the study and clinical director for cancer services at UCL, added, Our early trial results have shown that 95 per cent of men have none of the long term problems associated with the more invasive treatments such as leaking urine or poor sexual function. This cannot be achieved by any other standard treatments. Early cancer control was also very encouraging, but more work needs to be done to look at this.
     
    * Other partners in the research included Medical Research Council, Prostate Action, Prostate Cancer Research Centre, St Peters Trust, University College Hospital, University College London and US HIFU.

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