In the earlier study, antioxidants known as ellagitannins and their metabolites accumulated in the prostates of mice in the laboratory. The researchers then grafted prostate cancer cells onto mice whose immune systems had been deliberately hampered. One group of mice was then treated with ellagatannins and their metabolites. The treated mice were found to have significantly less tumor growth than mice in the control group.
The second study was lead by Shiuan Chen, PhD, director of the Division of Tumor Cell Biology and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. The researchers examined the impact of 10 ellagitannin-derived compounds from pomegranates on aromatase activity and breast cancer cell growth in laboratory tests. The results showed that of those 10 compounds, urolithin B most significantly inhibited breast cancer cell growth.
Dr. Chen said: “Phytochemicals suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors.”
Pomegranates have been shown to be rich in antioxidants, and increased consumption has been correlated with improved cardiovascular health. Additional claims have also been made that consuming pomegranates can slow the loss of cartilage caused by arthritis.
The University of California researchers had previously demonstrated that consumption of pomegranate juice by prostate cancer patients can lead to an increased doubling time for prostate specific antigen, a primary indicator of prostate cancer risk.
Researchers hope that derivatives from pomegranates may one day be developed into cancer treatment, but cautioned that further studies are necessary. In particular, clinical trials on humans must be introduced before any treatment can be developed, as the fruit may function differently in a human body than in a mouse or a lab.
Consumer health advocate Mike Adams adds, "Medical scientists don't need to waste time developing a treatment based on pomegranates. Mother Nature has already provided the treatment.. simply eat more pomegranate seeds!"