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Prostate Cancer

January 2008

Role of mammalian lignans in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is poised to become the most prevalent male cancer in the Western world. In Japan and China, incidence rates are almost 10-fold less those reported in the United States and the European Union. Epidemiological data suggest that environmental factors such as diet can significantly influence the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer. The differences in lifestyle between East and West are one of the major risk factors for developing prostate cancer. Traditional Japanese and Chinese diets are rich in foods containing phytoestrogenic compounds, whereas the Western diet is a poor source of these phytochemicals. The lignan phytoestrogens are the most widely occurring of these compounds. In vitro and in vivo reports in the literature indicate that lignans have the capacity to affect the pathogenesis of prostate cancer. However, their precise mechanism of action in prostate carcinogenesis remains unclear. This article outlines the possible role of lignans in prostate cancer by reviewing the current in vitro and in vivo evidence for their anticancer activities. The intriguing concept that lignans may play a role in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer over the lifetime of an individual is discussed.

Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(1):1-14

Dietary lignan intakes and risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer.

Lignans are plant compounds metabolized in the mammalian gut to produce the phytoestrogens enterolactone and enterodiol. Because estrogens have been linked to breast cancer etiology, lignans could affect breast cancer risk through modulation of endogenous estrogen metabolism or competitive inhibition with estrogen receptors. We examined breast cancer risk and dietary lignan intake in a population-based case-control study of 1,122 women with primary, incident, histologically confirmed breast cancer and 2,036 controls frequency matched to cases on age and county of residence as part of the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study. Diet was assessed with a self-administered 104-item food frequency questionnaire and other relevant data were collected by detailed in-person interviews. Lignans were expressed as the sum of the dietary precursors secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for age, total energy and other breast cancer risk factors. Premenopausal women in the highest quartile of dietary lignan intake had reduced breast cancer risk (OR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.44-0.98). No association was observed between lignan intakes and postmenopausal breast cancer. Our results suggest that dietary lignans may be important in the etiology of breast cancer, particularly among premenopausal women.

Int J Cancer. 2004 Sep 1;111(3):440-3

Phyto-oestrogens and risk of prostate cancer in Scottish men.

A population-based case-control study of diet, inherited susceptibility and prostate cancer was undertaken in the lowlands and central belt of Scotland to investigate the effect of phyto-oestrogen intake and serum concentrations on prostate cancer risk. A total of 433 cases and 483 controls aged 50-74 years were asked to complete a validated FFQ and provide a non-fasting blood sample. Multivariate logistic regression analysis found significant inverse associations with increased serum concentrations of enterolactone (adjusted OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.22, 0.71] and with the consumption of soy foods (adjusted OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.30, 0.91). However, no significant associations were observed for isoflavone intake or serum genistein, daidzein and equol. This study supports the hypotheses that soy foods and enterolactone metabolised from dietary lignans protect against prostate cancer in older Scottish men.

Br J Nutr. 2007 Aug;98(2):388-96

Dietary phytoestrogen, serum enterolactone and risk of prostate cancer: the cancer prostate Sweden study (Sweden).

OBJECTIVE: Based on evidence that phytoestrogens may protect against prostate cancer, we evaluated the associations between serum enterolactone concentration or dietary phytoestrogen intake and risk of prostate cancer. METHODS: In our Swedish population-based case-control study, questionnaire-data were available for 1,499 prostate cancer cases and 1,130 controls, with serum enterolactone levels in a sub-group of 209 cases and 214 controls. Unconditional logistic regression was performed to estimate multivariate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations with risk of prostate cancer. RESULTS: High intake of food items rich in phytoestrogens was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. The OR comparing the highest to the lowest quartile of intake was 0.74 (95% CI: 0.57-0.95; p-value for trend: 0.01). In contrast, we found no association between dietary intake of total or individual lignans or isoflavonoids and risk of prostate cancer. Intermediate serum levels of enterolactone were associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. The ORs comparing increasing quartiles of serum enterolactone concentration to the lowest quartile were, respectively, 0.28 (95% CI: 0.15-0.55), 0.63 (95% CI: 0.35-1.14) and 0.74 (95% CI: 0.41-1.32). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis that certain foods high in phytoestrogens are associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Cancer Causes Control. 2006 Mar;17(2):169-80

Expression of enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism in human prostate.

There is evidence that estrogens can directly modulate human prostate cell activity. It has also been shown that cultured human prostate cancer LNCaP can synthesize the active estrogen estradiol (E2). To elucidate the metabolism of estrogens in the human prostate, we have studied the expression of enzymes involved in the formation and inactivation of estrogens at the cellular level. 17beta-Hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD) types 1, 2, 4, 7, and 12, as well as aromatase mRNA and protein expressions, were studied in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) specimens using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. For 17beta-HSD type 4, only in situ hybridization studies were performed. Identical results were obtained with in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. All the enzymes studied were shown to be expressed in both epithelial and stromal cells, with the exception of 17beta-HSD types 4 and 7, which were detected only in the epithelial cells. On the basis of our previous results, showing that 3beta-HSD and 17beta-HSD type 5 are expressed in human prostate, and of the present data, it can be concluded that the human prostate expresses all the enzymes involved in the conversion of circulating dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to E2. The local biosynthesis of E2 might be involved in the development and/or progression of prostate pathology such as BPH and prostate cancer through modulation of estrogen receptors, which are also expressed in epithelial and stromal cells.

J Histochem Cytochem. 2006 Aug;54(8):911-21

Mammalian lignans and genistein decrease the activities of aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in MCF-7 cells.

Estrogen plays a major role in breast cancer development and progression. Breast tissue and cell lines contain the necessary enzymes for estrogen synthesis, including aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD). These enzymes can influence tissue exposure to estrogen and therefore have become targets for breast cancer treatment and prevention. This study determined whether the isoflavone genistein (GEN) and the mammalian lignans enterolactone (EL) and enterodiol (ED) would inhibit the activity of aromatase and 17beta-HSD type 1 in MCF-7 cancer cells, thereby decreasing the amount of estradiol (E2) produced and consequently cell proliferation. Results showed that 10 microM EL, ED and GEN significantly decreased the amount of estrone (E1) produced via the aromatase pathway by 37%, 81%, and 70%, respectively. Regarding 17beta-HSD type 1, 50 microM EL and GEN maximally inhibited E2 production by 84% and 59%, respectively. The reduction in E1 and E2 production by EL and the reduction in E2 production by GEN were significantly related to a reduction in MCF-7 cell proliferation. 4-Hydroxyandrostene-3,17-dione (50 microM) did not inhibit aromatase but inhibited the conversion of E1 to E2 by 78%, suggesting that it is a 17beta-HSD type 1 inhibitor. In conclusion, modulation of local E2 synthesis is one potential mechanism through which ED, EL and GEN may protect against breast cancer.

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Apr;94(5):461-7

Low testosterone levels are associated with coronary artery disease in male patients with angina.

Historically, high androgen levels have been linked with an increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, more recent data suggest that low androgen levels are associated with adverse cardiovascular risk factors, including an atherogenic lipid profile, obesity and insulin resistance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between plasma sex hormone levels and presence and degree of CAD in patients undergoing coronary angiography and in matched controls. We evaluated 129 consecutive male patients (mean age 58+/-4 years, range 43-72 years) referred for diagnostic coronary angiography because of symptoms suggestive of CAD, but without acute coronary syndromes or prior diagnosis of hypogonadism. Patients were matched with healthy volunteers. Out of 129 patients, 119 had proven CAD; in particular, 32 of them had one, 63 had two and 24 had three vessel disease, respectively. Patients had significantly lower levels of testosterone than controls (9.8+/-6.5 and 13.5+/-5.4 nmol/l, P<0.01) and higher levels of gonadotrophin (12.0+/-1.5 vs 6.6+/-1.9 IU/l and 7.9+/-2.1 vs 4.4+/-1.4, P<0.01 for follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, respectively). Also, both bioavailable testosterone and plasma oestradiol levels were lower in patients as compared to controls (0.84+/-0.45 vs 1.19+/-0.74 nmol/l, P<0.01 and 10.7+/-1.4 vs 13.3+/-3.5 pg/ml, P<0.05). Hormone levels were compared in cases with one, two or three vessel disease showing significant differences associated with increasing severity of coronary disease. An inverse relationship between the degree of CAD and plasma testosterone levels was found (r=-0.52, P<0.01). In conclusion, patients with CAD have lower testosterone and oestradiol levels than healthy controls. These changes are inversely correlated to the degree of CAD, suggesting that low plasma testosterone may be involved with the increased risk of CAD in men.

Int J Impot Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;19(2):176-82

Testosterone use in men with sexual dysfunction:a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials to measure the effect of testosterone use on sexual function in men with sexual dysfunction and varying testosterone levels. METHODS: Librarian-designed search strategies were used to search the MEDLINE (1966 to October 2004), EMBASE (1988 to October 2004), and Cochrane CENTRAL (inception to October 2004) databases. The MEDLINE search was rerun in March 2005. We also reviewed reference lists from included studies and content expert files. We selected randomized placebo-controlled trials of testosterone vs placebo that enrolled men with sexual dysfunction and measured satisfaction with erectile function and libido and overall sexual satisfaction. RESULTS: We included 17 trials (N = 862 participants) in this review. Trials that enrolled participants with low testosterone levels showed (1) a moderate insignificant and inconsistent effect of testosterone use on satisfaction with erectile function (random-effects pooled effect size, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.10 to 1.60), (2) a large effect on libido (pooled effect size, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.40 to 2.25), and (3) no significant effect on overall sexual satisfaction. Trials that enrolled patients with low-normal and normal testosterone levels at baseline showed testosterone that caused (1) a small effect on satisfaction with erectile function (pooled effect size, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.65), (2) moderate nonsignificant effect on libido (pooled effect size, 0.41; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.83), and (3) no significant effect on overall sexual satisfaction. CONCLUSION: Testosterone use in men is associated with small improvements in satisfaction with erectile function and moderate improvements in libido. Unexplained inconsistent results across trials, wide CIs, and possible reporting bias weaken these inferences.

Mayo Clin Proc. 2007 Jan;82(1):20-8

Flaxseed and its lignans inhibit estradiol-induced growth, angiogenesis, and secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor in human breast cancer xenografts in vivo.

PURPOSE: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulator of angiogenesis, which is crucial in cancer progression. We have previously shown that estradiol (E2) increases VEGF in breast cancer. Phytoestrogens are potential compounds in breast cancer prevention and treatment by poorly understood mechanisms. The main phytoestrogens in Western diet are lignans, and flaxseed is a rich source of the mammalian lignans enterodiol and enterolactone. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In the present study, ovariectomized mice were treated with continuous release of E2. MCF-7 tumors were established and mice were fed with basal diet or 10% flaxseed, and two groups that were fed basal diet received daily injections with enterodiol or enterolactone (15 mg/kg body weight). RESULTS: We show that flaxseed, enterodiol, and enterolactone counteracted E2-induced growth and angiogenesis in solid tumors. Extracellular VEGF in vivo, sampled using microdialysis, in all intervention groups was significantly decreased compared with tumors in the basal diet group. Our in vivo findings were confirmed in vitro. By adding enterodiol or enterolactone, E2-induced VEGF secretion in MCF-7 cells decreased significantly without agonistic effects. The increased VEGF secretion by E2 in MCF-7 cells increased the expression of VEGF receptor-2 in umbilical vein endothelial cells, suggesting a proangiogenic effect by E2 by two different mechanisms, both of which were inhibited by the addition of lignans. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that flaxseed and its lignans have potent antiestrogenic effects on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and may prove to be beneficial in breast cancer prevention strategies in the future.

Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Feb 1;13(3):1061-7