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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Note/Vitamin E & Prostate Cancer

Air Date: Week of July 5, 2002

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Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on how vitamin E may play a surprising role in fighting prostate cancer.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Coming up, a surprising risk from antibiotics. First, this environmental health note from Diane Toomey.

[EHN THEME]

TOOMEY: Studies have shown that men who take vitamin E reduce their risk of getting prostate cancer. Now, new research from the University of Rochester may have discovered why. In its early stage prostate cancer must receive androgen hormones, like testosterone, in order to grow. But for that to happen, testosterone has to first latch onto a protein called the androgen receptor. When researchers exposed human prostate cancer cells to vitamin E, they found the supplement blocked the formation of this crucial receptor. They believe that interference is why the PSA levels in these cells plummeted as much as 90 percent. PSA protein levels indicate the degree of cancer growth. Current prostate cancer drugs either stop the production of testosterone or block the hormone from binding to its receptor, so this new research offers the possibility of attacking prostate cancer in another way. The researchers say the study is promising, but, until more work is done with people, they can’t recommend that every man take vitamin E to prevent the disease. The scientists also cautioned that not all types of vitamin E produce the dramatic results. The most effective form of the supplement, they found, is vitamin E succinate, also known as alpha-tocopheryl succinate. That’s this week’s health update. I’m Diane Toomey.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Pell Mell, "Interloper", STAR CITY (Matador - 1997)]

 

Links

Press Release on the research from the University of Rochester">

 

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