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Phytochemical From Olive Oil May Treat Prostate Cancer
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An olive-oil based herbal extract preparation called Zyflamend suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells and induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, according to a new study. Zyflamend has the ability, in culture at least, to reduce prostate cancer cell growth by as much as 78 percent and induce cancer cell death or "apoptosis," scientists report in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

"Together, these results suggest that Zyflamend might have some chemopreventive utility against prostate cancer in men," lead investigator Dr. Debra L. Bemis of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York told Reuters Health.

Zyflamend has both COX-1 and COX-2 anti-inflammatory effects, although its anti-cancer effects against prostate cancer are independent of COX-2 inhibition. COX inhibitors have shown value for prostate cancer patients, but data from recent trials of selective COX-2 inhibitors suggest that use of these drugs might have adverse effects on the heart.

Aspirin, a non-selective COX inhibitor, is not associated with these side effects and, instead, has well established benefits in people with heart disease. Zyflamend has a biochemical action profile similar to aspirin.

In the laboratory, Bemis and colleagues observed that treatment of prostate cancer cells with Zyflamend dramatically decreased COX-1 and COX-2 enzyme activity and attenuated cancer cell growth.

Bemis said "we are currently conducting a Phase I clinical trial for men with a pre-cancerous lesion of the prostate -- prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia -- to gain some information as to Zyflamend's potential to prevent or slow... progression to prostate cancer."

SOURCE: Nutrition and Cancer, October 2005.