UK scientists show super foods proven to beat prostate cancer

03 June 2013
For the first time pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli have been scientifically proven to fight prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the UK.

Professor ThomasThe ground-breaking study is to be presented at the world’s most prestigious cancer conference on Sunday 2 June by Professor Robert Thomas, a consultant oncologist at both Bedford Hospital and Addenbrooke’s, part of Cambridge University Hospitals.

A six-month trial at Bedford involving 203 men with prostate cancer  showed that PSA levels of those who took a capsule containing essence of pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli were 63% less than those who took the placebo.

The PSA is a level of the protein produced by the prostate gland which is an indicator of prostate cancer. The men who experienced a lower PSA increase took a purified polyphenol rich food pill call Pomi-T, which was designed by Professor Thomas in conjunction with the National Cancer Research Institute.

Researchers have previously concentrated on extracting chemicals such as minerals, lycopene and vitamins from foods and putting these into supplements - most studies, however, showed they did more harm than good in terms of cancer risk.

Although polyphenol-rich foods such as pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli have demonstrated multiple anti-cancer effects in laboratory tests, and small non-randomised studies, this is the first time they have firmly established an influence on markers of cancer progression within a scientifically robust evaluation.

The landmark results will be presented in front of 28,000 oncologists at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago, where the scientific organising committee have chosen 10 of the most significant research projects in each cancer topic from around the world. While other presentations relate to multi-million dollar international projects, the ‘Pomi-T’ study was conducted for less than £15,000.

Professor Thomas said:

“Our experience in offering high-quality clinical care, collaboration with cancer charities and world-class research with the University of Cambridge has resulted in findings which will have an world-wide impact. We hope this will help millions of men to help combat the onset of prostate cancer.

“At the Primrose Unit in Bedford there is a long track record of designing and evaluating lifestyle strategies so this was a natural progression.

“Healthy eating and lifestyle is the main way of helping to combat the development of cancer but men can now also turn to a whole food supplement which has been shown to work.”

The study involved 203 men with prostate cancer either managed with primary active surveillance or being watched with a PSA relapse after radiotherapy or surgery. They were split (randomised) into two groups – those who took the capsule and those who took a placebo. In order to comply with the strictest of scientific standards the patients, doctors and statisticians were blind to who had the Pomi-t or the placebo. As well as the large clinical effect on PSA, the study also showed there were virtually no adverse effects and significantly fewer men proceeded to potentially toxic therapies at the end of the study.

Dr Thomas added: “It is very significant to be invited to give a talk in ASCO.  I feel honoured to be representing Bedford and Addenbrooke’s hospitals and the UK in this global conference and hope this will be seen as a great reflection on the research we do and in turn the standard of care we provide in our hospitals.”