Gamma tocopherol inhibits lung and prostate cancer growth in vitro

December 16, 2004 Printer Friendly
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Gamma-tocopherol inhibits lung and prostate cancer growth in vitro


Cancer Adjuvant Therapy

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Gamma-tocopherol inhibits lung and prostate cancer growth in vitro
A study published on December 13 2004 in the in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( found that gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E whose health benefits have been gaining attention, could slow the growth of prostate or lung cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Researchers at Purdue University led by Qing Jiang, who is an assistant professor of foods and nutrition in the College of Consumer and Family Sciences, tested gamma-tocopherol’s effect in androgen-sensitive and androgen-resistant prostate cancer, lung cancer and normal prostate cell cultures. Earlier research conducted by Jiang and colleagues found that gamma-tocopherol inhibited inflammation, which has been implicated in the development of cancer.

They found that gamma-tocopherol inhibited the proliferation of both prostate cancer cell lines and lung cancer cells while not affecting the normal prostate cells. It was discovered that gamma-tocopherol interrupts the synthesis of sphingolipids, which are a component of the cell membrane, and that it did so only in cancerous cells.

Dr Jiang announced, “This is the first time gamma-tocopherol has been shown to induce death in lab-grown human cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. This could be wonderful news for cancer patients if the effect can be reproduced in animal models. But because most nutritional supplements contain only alpha-tocopherol, a different form of vitamin E that alone does not have these anticancer properties, it may be better to supplement the diet with mixed forms of vitamin E. The study shows that the anticancer effect is enhanced when mixed forms are used."

“We hope that future research not only will clarify whether gamma-tocopherol could have applications in human cancer treatment, but also will show how we might supplement the body with the vitamin to prevent cancer from developing in the first place,” Dr Jiang added.

The report was coauthored by Jeffrey Wong, Henrik Fryst, Julie D Saba and Bruce N. Ames.


Cancer Adjuvant Therapy
The inhibitory role of vitamin E in the growth of a number of human tumor cells, as well as its defensive functions in overcoming treatment-induced toxicity have been examined. The impact of vitamin E (perhaps acting through its antioxidant strengths) is significant, as evidenced by the following studies:

After examining 29,000 male smokers in Finland, researchers found that high blood levels of alpha-tocopherol reduced the incidence of lung cancer by approximately 19%. The relationship appears stronger among younger persons and among those with less cumulative smoke exposure. These findings suggest that high levels of alpha-tocopherol, if present during the early critical stages of tumorigenesis, may inhibit lung cancer development (Woodson et al. 1999).

A combination of vitamin E and pentoxifylline (PTX), a drug that inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation, allowing more blood to reach irradiated areas, resulted in a 50% regression of superficial radiation-induced fibrosis (the proliferation of fibrous connective tissue) in half of the patients studied (Gottlober et al. 1996; Delanian 1998). A suggested dosage is 800 mg a day of PTX and 1000 IU per day of vitamin E.

An antimelanoma effect obtained from vitamin E succinate in vivo has been reported (Malafa et al. 2002).

Gamma-tocopherol inhibits COX-2 activity, demonstrating anti-inflammatory properties (Jiang et al. 2001; Life Extension Magazine 2002).

The use of vitamin E, in combination with vitamins A and C, led to a four-fold reduction in p53 mutations (Brotzman et al. 1999). This is an extremely important finding because p53 mutations indicate a more malignant, aggressive form of cancer.

Men with a high intake of vitamin E are 65% less likely to develop colorectal adenomas (precursors to colon cancer) compared to men with low vitamin E intake (Tseng et al. 1996).

Lower morbidity and mortality from prostate cancer in men taking 50 mg of synthetic alpha-tocopherol daily. Subsequent testing determined gamma-tocopherol to be superior, however, to alpha-tocopherol in terms of tumor cell inhibition (Moyad et al. 1999). Men in the highest fifth of the distribution for gamma-tocopherol had a five-fold reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those in the lowest fifth. In addition, statistically significant protection from high levels of selenium and alpha-tocopherol occurred only when gamma-tocopherol concentrations were also high (Helzlsourer et al. 2000). Vitamin E's mode of efficacy in regard to prostate protection: Vitamin E interferes with two proteins (the receptor for testosterone and prostate-specific antigen [PSA]). The fewer androgen receptors there are on a prostate cancer cell, the less capable the remaining receptors are of turning on genes that stimulate prostate cancer growth and progression. PSA serves as a good marker molecule for androgen receptor activity (Mercola 2002b).

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The primary purpose of supplementing with vitamin E is to suppress damaging free radicals. Scientific studies have identified the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E as being critical to human health.

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Sesame lignans have been added to help block or inhibit the enzyme that breaks down tocotrienols allowing tissue levels of tocotrienols to build up in the body. This translates into much greater antioxidant protection, decreasing destructive free radicals.

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Note: Life Extension Update’s publication schedule will be suspended over the upcoming holiday, and will resume with the December 30 2004 issue. Life Extension would like to wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season, and many more!

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