An Update on the Effect of Pomegranate on Prostate Cancer

An April 4th, 2011 website post described two studies from Johns Hopkins and UCLA which concluded that pomegranate extract increased PSA doubling time (PSADT) in men with prostate cancer. Recently, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has updated its information from human studies of pomegranate extract. In a study reported in 2006, researchers observed the effects of pomegranate juice (PJ) on PSA values in prostate cancer patients who had rising PSA levels following treatment with surgery or radiation. The study participants drank 8 ounces of juice daily (570 mg/day total polyphenol gallic acid equivalents) for up to 33 months. Drinking PJ was associated with statistically significant increases in PSA doubling time (PSADT). After 33 months of follow-up, the median PSADT increased from 11.5 months to 28.7 months (P < .001).

A phase II study evaluated 1-g and 3-g doses of pomegranate extract in 104 men with rising PSA values following initial therapy for localized prostate cancer. The study reported that pomegranate extract was associated with an increase of at least 6 months in PSADT in both treatment arms, without adverse effects. However, a phase III placebo-controlled trial of 183 patients who were randomly assigned to the pomegranate juice, pomegranate extract, or placebo did not significantly prolong PSADT in prostate cancer patients with rising PSA after primary therapy. Some data from this study suggest that a subgroup analysis should be done to further investigate a potential unique sensitivity.

Personally, I had taken pomegranate extract daily supplied by POM Wonderful for years. I was recently informed that the makers of POM Wonderful are no longer providing the extract capsules. I cannot say for sure whether the extract is helping me but I have no averse effects to my knowledge. However, if you are considering taking pomegranate in any form, you should share this information in discussions with your physician. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes extensive information on studies of the effects of various supplements and vitamins on prostate cancer. See the following link.

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