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26 January 2006
Curry, Cauliflower, Latest Prostate Cancer Preventatives
by George Atkinson

First it was broccoli that was found to have a preventative effect for prostate cancer. Now it seems that curry and cauliflower can also be added to the list. The new findings come from Rutgers University where researchers have isolated the curry spice turmeric, which they say holds real potential for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. The effect was particularly pronounced, say the researchers, when turmeric, also known as curcumin, was combined with certain vegetables, such as the cauliflower.

Turmeric was tested along with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring substance found in watercress, cabbage, winter cress, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and turnips. "The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers," said Rutgers researcher Ah-Ng Tony Kong.

The study, appearing in the journal Cancer Research, noted that in contrast to the high incidence of prostate cancer in the United States, the incidence of the disease was very low in India. This has been attributed to the Indian diet which contains large amounts of plant-based foods rich in phytochemicals (plant chemicals that have protective or disease-preventive properties).

While the results from previous laboratory tests were promising, it was live animal studies that demonstrated the powerful preventative effect of the compounds. The researchers found that injecting mice with curcumin or PEITC significantly retarded the growth of cancerous tumors. Using PEITC and curcumin together produced even stronger preventative effects.

The results were less compelling for well-established tumors, showing that PEITC or curcumin alone had little effect, although the combination of curcumin and PEITC significantly reduced tumor growth.

Based on material from Rutgers University

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