Polyphenol-rich foods such as pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli, have demonstrated anti-cancer effects in laboratory studies. In humans, observational studies have linked their intake to a lower risk of chronic disease, including cancer. Concentrating these foods into a capsule is a convenient way to boost an individual’s polyphenol intake but, hitherto, clinical studies have not firmly established that these benefit health or change markers of cancer progression. Men with prostate cancer, managed with active surveillance (AS) or watchful waiting for a PSA relapse after radical treatments, are an ideal cohort to evaluate a lifestyle intervention as they have a useful serum marker of their disease (the PSA). Furthermore, these men appear to have a great interest in self-help remedies, as reports indicate that 50-70% of men with prostate cancer take over-the-counter supplements.
Aims of this study
To determine whether a polyphenol-rich food pill influenced the rate of PSA progression.
The researchers recruited 203 men aged 53 to 89 years with prostate cancer proven by biopsy. 59% of the men had not yet undergone any treatment and were being followed closely with periodic PSA tests (Active surveillance), while 41% had already had a radical intervention (radiotherapy or surgery and radiotherapy) but had relapsed with significantly climbing PSA levels. Men were randomly assigned to receive either the twice-daily oral capsule containing a blend of purified, polyphenol-rich whole foods, or a similar-looking placebo for 6 months. At baseline, there were no significant differences between the two groups. Neither the doctors supervising the trial, the men involved or statisticians analysing the data knew which men were taking a placebo or the Pomi-T.