Treatment with the prescription drug raloxifene (Evista®) may inhibit the growth of advanced prostate cancer, according to a recent pilot study.11 Raloxifene is typically used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and research suggests that it also suppresses prostate cancer growth by decreasing male hormone levels.
In the first part of the study, raloxifene markedly inhibited the growth of human prostate cancers that had been grafted into mice. In the second phase, 21 men with advanced prostate cancer resistant to hormonal and other treatments were given raloxifene at 60 mg per day. Four men withdrew from the study early, leaving 17 men for evaluation.
After two months of treatment, 12 men discontinued therapy but 5 men (28%) had achieved stable disease and continued therapy. Four of the five were treated for four months, and one continued for 17 months before discontinuing therapy. All discontinuations were due to progressive disease, as defined by rising levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), though no extra tumor growth was found. Most side effects of treatment were mild.
Raloxifene may thus be a promising therapeutic for potentially incurable prostate cancer.
—Laura J. Ninger, ELS
Two potent plant-derived compounds, limonene and perillic acid, may inhibit the spread (metastasis) of skin cancer to other organs or tissues, report scientists in India.12 Both biochemicals occur naturally in the essential oils of certain plants; limonene is prevalent in citrus fruit oils, while perillic acid occurs in plants such as sage, peppermint, perilla, and cranberry.
This study utilized an animal model of malignant melanoma. The animals received 10 doses of either limonene or perillic acid, while a control group received no treatment. Limonene administration produced a dramatic 65% reduction in metastatic tumor nodules, while perillic acid therapy led to a 67% reduction in these nodules. Treatment with limonene or perillic acid also reduced levels of two biomarkers associated with poorer cancer prognosis.
These findings suggest that limonene and perillic acid may protect against the spread of the deadliest form of skin cancer.
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND
Melatonin may protect women against breast cancer, according to a recently published paper.13 A hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin helps regulate sleep-wake cycles and functions as a potent antioxidant.
In this study, scientists utilized laboratory animals with tumors made up of human breast cancer cells. The rats were then injected with blood samples from healthy women. These samples contained varying concentrations of melatonin, depending on the time of day they were collected.
When the rats were injected with blood samples that were low in melatonin, tumor growth increased. The low-melatonin blood samples were collected during the day or at night after bright light exposure. When scientists injected the animals with blood samples that were high in melatonin, tumor growth slowed significantly. The high-melatonin samples were collected at night after total darkness.
These findings suggest that higher blood levels of melatonin may protect women against breast cancer. Since melatonin levels can be suppressed by exposure to bright light at night, these results could explain the observation that women who work night shifts have an increased risk for breast cancer.
In June, New York State Senate minority leader David A. Paterson announced his “Healthy Kids Initiative” focusing on the epidemic of childhood obesity that is sweeping his state and the nation.
“The statistics are staggering,” Paterson said. “Twenty-eight percent of high school students are overweight and one in five kindergarteners is obese.” The problem is particularly acute in low-income areas, which have seen a 400% increase in the percentage of abnormal-weight children. “Thirty-three percent of children aged 2-5 are overweight and one in four Head Start children is obese,” Paterson noted. “When are we going to get embarrassed about how many of our children are overweight?”
More and more children are contracting diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that are more commonly associated with adulthood, which contributes to the increased prevalence of these conditions as the population ages. Cases of diabetes, for example, have doubled in New York City over the last decade.
Citing a need for a cultural change and “inventive health care,” Paterson called for a partnership between conventional and alternative medicine in diagnosing, preventing, and treating obesity. He referenced successful initiatives in other states, such as Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s “Healthy Arkansas” campaign, which fosters healthy dietary and exercise choices as well as preventive health measures (Life Extension, December 2005).
Eric R. Braverman, MD, a member of the Life Extension Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, elaborated on the health and societal implications of childhood obesity: “Obesity spirals into diabetes, asthma, sleep disturbance, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and depression. Prescriptions for child diabetics have doubled in the past four years, and many children are taking multiple medications for related conditions.”
Dr. Braverman stressed the need for allocating resources and applying existing medical knowledge to prevent obesity. “We have all the tests to find disease early,” Dr. Braverman said. “The barometer of how government functions and how we the people are doing is how healthy our children are.”
In Memoriam - Stuart Glassman
Dr. Stuart Glassman was a husband, father, and grandfather, as well as our friend and colleague at Life Extension. On April 11, 2006, at the age of 78, Stuart lost a hard-fought, 12-year battle against cancer.
Stuart maintained a successful dental practice on Long Island for 34 years, before he and his wife Teri later moved to Florida to enjoy their golden years. Diagnosed with melanoma and determined to fight his cancer with every resource available, Stuart became a Life Extension member and, with the assistance of the Foundation’s advisory staff, he implemented an integrated approach to fight his cancer. This strategy included diet modification, nutritional supplementation, and surgery to remove the cancer.
Stuart relentlessly researched conventional, experimental, and alternative therapies to slow the progression of the deadly melanoma. He underwent a cutting-edge immunotherapy regimen offered at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, taking a vaccine designed to boost immune response and thus kill cancer cells.
Stuart always attributed his 12-year survival to the vaccine therapy and to information provided by Life Extension. With the Foundation’s help, he designed a comprehensive supplement regimen that he followed rigorously.
Impressed with Stuart’s vast knowledge of cancer and nutraceuticals, Life Extension invited him to join its health advisory team. At 72 years young while battling melanoma, Stuart emerged from retirement to share his wealth of knowledge with other Life Extension members, and quickly became a valued employee.
Shortly after he began working for Life Extension, Stuart was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While a lesser man might have given up, Stuart fought even harder. He tirelessly researched the most current scientific literature to help himself and other members who were battling prostate cancer.
Stuart was an amazing, courageous man who never missed a day of work even when his cancer was progressing. Countless members developed a relationship with Stuart during his five years at Life Extension. Although they all knew what a caring, generous man he was, few knew just how ill he was, as Stuart never complained.
Stuart’s intelligence, thirst for knowledge, wit, and contagious laugh put everyone he spoke with at ease. However, it will be his warm, generous spirit that will be missed most of all.
1. Mao GS, Marotta F, Liu T, Chui DH, Lorenzetti A, Marandola P. Anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect of a phytoestrogen compound on rat microglia. Poster presented at: Estrogens and Human Diseases meeting; May 15-21, 2006; Erice, Italy.
2. Jago R, Harrell JS, McMurray RG, Edelstein S, El Ghormli L, Bassin S. Prevalence of abnormal lipid and blood pressure values among an ethnically diverse population of eight-grade adolescents and screening implications. Pediatrics. 2006 Jun;117(6):2065-73.
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5. Jackson RD, LaCroix AZ, Gass M, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. N Engl J Med. 2006 Feb 16;354(7):669-83.
6. Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):325.
7. Available at: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=67420. Accessed May 25, 2006.
8. Hozawa A, Jacobs DR Jr, Steffes MW, Gross MD, Steffen LM, Lee DH. Associations of serum carotenoid concentrations with the development of diabetes and with insulin concentration: interaction with smoking: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 May 15;163(10):929-37.
9. Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K, Lichtinghagen R, Stichtenoth DO, Hahn A. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006 May;36(5):340-4.
10. Palan PR, Magneson AT, Castillo M, Dunne J, Mikhail MS. Effects of menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive use on serum levels of lipid-soluble antioxidants. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 May;194(5):e35-8.
11. Shazer RL, Jain A, Galkin AV, et al. Raloxifene, an oestrogen-receptor-beta-targeted therapy, inhibits androgen-independent prostate cancer growth: results from preclinical studies and a pilot phase II clinical trial. BJU Int. 2006 Apr;97(4):691-7.
12. Raphael TJ, Kuttan G. Effect of naturally occurring monoterpenes carvone, limonene and perillic acid in the inhibition of experimental lung metastasis induced by B16F-10 melanoma cells. Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Sep;22(3):419-24.
13. Blask DE, Brainard GC, Dauchy RT, et al. Melatonin-depleted blood from premenopausal women exposed to light at night stimulates growth of human breast cancer xenografts in nude rats. Cancer Res. 2005 Dec 1;65(23):11174-84.