Hops may Prevent Prostate Cancer
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The natural compound xanthohumol, which is derived from hops, blocks the effects of the male hormone testosterone, aiding in the prevention of prostate cancer.
"We hope that one day we can demonstrate that xanthohumol prevents prostate cancer development, first in animal models and then in humans, but we are just at the beginning," Clarissa Gerhauser, Ph.D., group leader of cancer chemoprevention in the Division of Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, was quoted as saying.
Xanthohumol belongs to the group of flavonoids that are found in many plants, fruit, vegetables and spices, especially in hops. Studies to date have shown that xanthohumol blocks the action of estrogen by binding to its receptor, which may lead to prevention of breast cancer. Since testosterone receptors behave similarly to estrogen receptors, the researchers sought to determine whether xanthohumol might not only block the effects of estrogen, but also of the male hormone androgen.
Dr. Gerhauser and colleagues stimulated hormone-dependent prostate cancer cells with testosterone, which led to a massive secretion of prostate specific antigen (PSA), an early indicator of prostate cancer in men. Cells were then treated with testosterone and xanthohumol. "Xanthohumol prevented the receptor from translocating to the cell nucleus, thus inhibiting its potential to stimulate the secretion of PSA and other hormone-dependent effects," Dr. Gerhauser said.
When researchers measured the anti-androgenic potential of xanthohumol in a rat model, they found that although xanthohumol was not able to prevent an increase in prostate weight after testosterone treatment, it could reduce testosterone-increased seminal vesicle weight.
Dr. Gerhauser said, "Although the prostate weights were not changed, xanthohumol still reduced the effects of hormone signaling, such as gene expression, measured in the prostate tissue."
SOURCE: Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, Houston, TX, Dec. 6-9, 2009
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