Is it true that pomegranate juice may slow the growth of prostate cancer? How much should I drink?
Answer From Erik P. Castle, M.D.
Some research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may slow the progression of prostate cancer.
For example, in a study of men with recurrent prostate cancer and rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, researchers found that taking pomegranate juice extract significantly slowed the rate at which PSA was rising (PSA doubling time). A longer PSA doubling time can indicate that the cancer may be progressing less rapidly.
But this study did not use a control or placebo group. Nor did it measure overall survival.
Another study found that the length of time it took for PSA to double after surgery or radiation for prostate cancer was significantly longer in men who drank 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of pomegranate juice daily for up to two years. Other studies have found that certain compounds in pomegranate juice inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory.
Although these results are encouraging, they're only preliminary. Several additional clinical trials are underway, and it's too early to say if pomegranate juice can definitely slow the growth of prostate cancer. It's also unclear whether drinking pomegranate juice alters the course of prostate cancer overall so that men live longer or better.
If you choose to drink pomegranate juice, talk with your doctor first. Although pomegranate juice is generally safe, there is evidence that it may affect how your body processes certain prescription medications. Those medications include the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and some drugs used to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
April 26, 2016
See more Expert Answers
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- Philippou Y, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in prostate and bladder cancer. BJU International. 2013;112:1073.
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- Prostate cancer, nutrition and dietary supplement — health professional version (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/prostate-supplements-pdq/#section/_162. Accessed March 17, 2016.
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