(NaturalNews) There's new hope for men with prostate cancer when their disease doesn't respond adequately to standard medical care. According to the results of a long-term study presented this week at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) held in Linthicum, Maryland, pomegranate juice may effectively slow the progression of the disease, even when regular treatment has failed.
The research, just published in the Journal of Urology, involved a two-stage clinical trial which followed a total of 48 men over six years. Each research subject had a rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) level after surgery or radiation therapy greater than 0.2 ng/ml and less than 5 ng/ml. The study participants were given eight ounces of pomegranate juice to drink daily for several years. Then patients who remained in the study and drinking pomegranate juice were compared to those no longer participating in the juice regimen.
Though both these groups of men with prostate cancer had demonstrated similar mean PSA doubling times at baseline when the study began, there was a clear and important difference in the groups after 56 months. The pomegranate juice drinkers showed a significant slowing of their PSA levels and a decline in what doctors call their "median PSA slope". Simply put, prostate cancer progression had slowed down dramatically in the men who regularly drank pomegranate juice.
"This study suggests that pomegranate juice may effectively slow the progression of prostate cancer after unsuccessful treatment," said Christopher Amling, MD, an AUA spokesman. "This finding and other ongoing research might one day reveal that pomegranate juice is an effective prostate cancer preventative agent as well."
The study, which remains ongoing, suggests that some men with prostate cancer may be more sensitive to the effects of pomegranate juice on their disease, as revealed by the slowing down of the time it took for their PSA levels to double. Another phase of the same research is currently underway to further evaluate the benefits of pomegranate juice with a placebo-controlled group.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer of the prostate (the gland in the male reproductive system that makes and stores a component of semen) was diagnosed in over 186,000 U.S. men last year and 28,660 died from the disease.
Reference: Pantuck, A; Zomorodian, N; Rettig, M; Aronson, W; Heber, D; Belldegrun, A. Long term follow up of phase 2 study of pomegranate juice for men with prostate cancer shows durable prolongation of PSA doubling time. J Urol, suppl. 2009: 181, 4, abstract 826.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.