Herbal Treatment Shows Promise Against Prostate Cancer

It suppressed cell growth in lab experiments

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HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- An herbal formula sold under the brand name Zyflamend may offer new treatment and prevention options for prostate cancer patients, say Columbia University researchers.

The formula, a combination of 10 different herbs, suppressed the growth of prostate cancer cells and caused many cells to self-destruct in lab experiments, report the researchers. They presented their findings at a recent meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

"This is a natural product that contains herbs and spices and in ourlab studies seems to have an effect on the cancer we looked at," saysone of the study's authors, Dr. Aaron Katz, director of the Center forHolistic Urology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New YorkCity. "The compound needs future research on the clinical side, but itholds the potential for prevention and reducing PSA (prostate-specificantigen) levels."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, except for skincancer. More than 189,000 men are diagnosed with this form of cancerevery year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Zyflamend is made with a combination of turmeric, ginger, holy basil, hu zhang, Chinese goldthread, barberry, oregano, rosemary, green tea and Scutellaria baicalensis.

The researchers added Zyflamend to prostate cancer cells in labcultures. They also tested the effects of curcumin, a compound from thespice turmeric. Curcumin is believed to have an anti-inflammatoryeffect that could reduce the growth of prostate cancer.

They found Zyflamend reduced the growth of prostate cancer cellsand induced cell death, and that curcumin alone did not produce theseeffects.

Dr. Howard Korman, a urologist and prostate cancer specialist atWilliam Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., says the results of thisnew study are exciting.

"Some of our most effective medicines come from plants," says Korman,"and these results are interesting and hopeful."

However, he cautions, "it's a big step to go from the lab to people."

Katz says the researchers are hopeful the therapy will be aseffective in people as it is in the lab, and they plan on conductingclinical trials in the future.

If it proves as effective as they hope, Katz says the herbal formulacould be used as preventative therapy because it has no significant sideeffects. He says it could also, perhaps, be used as a treatment for menwith small tumors who don't want to undergo surgery or radiation if thetrials go well.

What To Do

For more information on prostate cancer, visit the NationalCancer Institute. The American Cancer Society offers tips that may help to prevent prostate cancer.

SOURCES: Aaron Katz, M.D., director, Center for Holistic Urology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and associate professor of clinical urology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City; Howard Korman, M.D., urologist, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; Dec. 13, 2002, presentation, Society of Urologic Oncology, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

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