Curry Spice Plus Cabbage Compound May Fight Cancer

Mouse study of prostate tumors suggests real promise from the treatment

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FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Numerous studies have suggested the curry spice turmeric can help fight off cancer.

And new research suggests it might help protect against -- and even treat -- prostate cancer, especially when combined with a substance found in cauliflower, cabbage and other kinds of vegetables.

Researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, found that a combination of turmeric (also called curcumin) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) was effective against prostate cancer. PEITC is abundant in a group of vegetables that includes cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, winter cress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi and turnips.

"The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers," Ah-Ng Tony Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues created mice with human prostate cancer tumors to test the effectiveness of PEITC and curcumin.

"Despite convincing data from laboratory cell cultures, we knew little about how PEITC and curcumin would perform in live animals, especially on prostate cancer," Kong said. "So, we undertook this study to evaluate how effective PEITC and curcumin might be -- individually and in combination -- to prevent and possibly treat prostate cancer."

The mice were injected with PEITC or curcumin, alone or in combination, three times a week for four weeks. The injections began a day before the prostate cancer cells were placed in the mice.

The study was published in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Rutgers, news release, Jan. 15, 2006

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