Vitamin E derivative active against prostate cancer tumors in mice

The SELECT trial, carried out between 2001 and 2008, clearly showed that vitamin E supplements had no effect on the prevention of prostate cancer in men over 50 years of age. However, there is still a belief in many quarters that vitamin E derivatives may have clinical activity against prostate cancer.

Ling and colleagues have already shown that one such category of derivatives, the γ-tocotrienols, can inhibit prostate cancer cell invasion and sensitize prostate cancer cells to docetaxel-induced apoptosis (programmed cell death). Most recently, Luk et al. have also shown that  the γ-tocotrienols can downregulate the expression of markers of prostate cancer stem cells.

In a media release from the Queensland University of Technology, Dr. Patrick Ling, a leading member of this research team, is quoted as stating that, in animal trials, γ-tocotrienols had completely inhibited prostate cancer tumor formation in > 70 percent of mice that were initially implanted with prostate cancer cells and then fed the γ-tocotrienols in water. In the remaining cases, tumor regrowth was considerably reduced. By comparison, while prostate cancer tumors reformed in 100 per cent of a control group that did not receive γ-tocotrienols in their diet.

This research is being sponsored by a Singapore-based company called Davos Life Science. As we have said many times before, the ability to demonstrate such effects in laboratory models is just an opening step toward the possibility of showing a clinical effect in patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, this work also exemplifies the breadth of global research into the attempt to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.

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