Citrus Nutrient Helps Slow Prostate Cancer
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Dec. 16, 2003 — Pectin, a nutrient found in citrus fruits, may help men with recurrent prostate cancer.
Results of a phase II study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, look promising, reports lead researcher B.W. Guess, MD, a prostate oncologist in Marina del Rey, Calif.
Pectin is a natural substance found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines, writes Guess. For decades, cooks have used pectin to make jellies and canned fruits.
In studies, citrus pectin caused prostate cells to take longer to produce PSA or prostate-specific antigen, which doctors use to monitor prostate cancer recurrences after surgery. When PSA production is slowed down, it means tumor growth is also slowed down.
This study focused on 10 patients diagnosed with recurrent prostate cancer.
Every day, patients took 18 capsules of pectin: Each contained 14 grams of pectin, equaling 800 mg a day. They also continued their regular routine: medications, diet, and other nutritional supplements.
Fourteen months later, 70% of the men had significant increases in the time it took to produce PSA — it took longer for prostate cells to produce a doubling of blood PSA levels.
It makes sense that increasing the time it takes to double the level of PSA would mean slower cancer growth, writes Guess. Other studies have shown that increasing this doubling time can halt cancer.
His study is more evidence that high doses of pectin — in combination with other medications — could slow the growth of advanced prostate cancer after surgery.