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Breast and Prostate Cancer News

February 26, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

While preparing today’s column I did a search on the phrase, “differences between men and women”. Any guess on how many hits this query turned up? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000? Try 17,700,000! One of the sites I stumbled upon contained a quote by the comedian Bill Cosby. He summed up the general sentiment conveyed by noteworthy figures throughout the ages: “Men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is a science still in its infancy”. I’m sure many of you nodded your head while reading that and with good reason. The tales my wife could tell! However, I believe our similarities far outnumber our differences. The same holds true if one were to examine the inner workings of the female and male body.

The March 2010 edition of the journal Nature Reviews Cancer contains an opinion piece entitled, “Breast and Prostate Cancer: More Similar Than Different”. The authors point out that “Although these cancers arise in organs that are different in terms of anatomy and physiological function both organs require gonadal steroids for their development, and tumors that arise from them are typically hormone-dependent and have remarkable underlying biological similarities”. (1)

I thought this might be an appropriate time to review some of most recent developments in the field of both breast and prostate cancer. Differences, similarities and everything in between.

  • An analysis of alcohol intake in a group of 3,088 breast cancer survivors suggests that light to moderate alcohol consumption does not appear to be linked to breast cancer recurrence. In fact, moderate alcohol use (>300 g/mo) actually conferred a protective effect against all-cause mortality in this population. Non-obese women who drank “lightly” (>10 g/mo) also exhibited a reduction in all-cause mortality risk. (2)
  • Engaging in about 4 hours of aerobic exercise per week can lower the levels of key hormones involved in breast cancer development. So says a new study published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. A total of 320 “postmenopausal, sedentary women” took part in this 1 year trial wherein half of them participated in a 225 minute-a-week exercise intervention and the remainder maintained their usual level of activity. The exercise group exhibited marked reductions in serum levels of estrogen (estradiol and free estradiol) and an increase in sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). According to the researchers involved, these changes are “consistent with a lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer”. (3)
  • Calcium and Vitamin D intake were the focus of a recent Japanese investigation of pre and postmenopausal women and their relative risk of breast cancer. Scientists from the Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute in Nagoya included 1,803 breast cancer patients and 3,606 “age-and menopausal status-matched non-cancer controls”. On the whole, there was a trend for lower breast cancer risk in those with the highest calcium and Vitamin D intake. However, a closer analysis revealed that only premenopausal women found a protective effect based on Vitamin D intake whereas postmenopausal women benefited primarily from higher calcium consumption. (4)
Dong Quai Failed to Reduce Hot Flashes in Prostate Cancer Patients
Source:  Can Urol Assoc J. 2010 February; 4(1): 49–53 (link)

Broccoli and selenium have generated quite a lot of interest with regard to the natural management of prostate cancer. Now, a combination of these two therapeutic agents wants some of the spotlight as well. A recent experiment compared the activity of broccoli sprouts vs. selenium-enriched broccoli sprouts in a test tube study on “human prostate cancer cell lines”. Such studies are often the starting point when investigating novel treatment options. The research, presented in the November 2009 issue of the journal BMC Cancer discovered that “Selenium-enriched broccoli sprouts were superior to normal broccoli sprouts in inhibiting cell proliferation, decreasing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) secretion, and inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells”. In conclusion, the authors of the study suggest that this selenium rich form of broccoli be considered as “an alternative selenium source for prostate cancer prevention and therapy”. (5,6,7)

Two recent trials have looked into natural ways of addressing common side effects associated with hormone deprivation therapy in men being treated for prostate cancer. The first investigation tested the impact of a traditional Chinese herb, Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), on hot flash occurrence. Unfortunately, the herbal remedy was not successful in reducing the duration or severity of hot flashes and, furthermore, did not exhibit any prostate specific benefits as assessed by digital rectal exams and PSA testing. Another frequent consequence of androgen suppression therapy (AST) in men is a loss of muscle mass. However, this adverse reaction may be largely prevented by engaging in an aerobic and resistance exercise regime. This is according to a recent 12 week study that involved 57 prostate cancer patients undergoing AST. Improvements in balance, lean body mass and muscle strength were observed in the men who took part in the exercise intervention in comparison to men who simply underwent androgen suppression therapy alone. Quality of life, as measured by decreased inflammation (C-reactive protein levels), an impression of “general health”, and reductions in fatigue were reported in the AST + exercise group alone. (8,9)

Harry S. Truman reputedly once said, “I’ve studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm”. This same truism can and should be applied to the way we men and women approach our individual health concerns. The job at hand is to try to reduce our personal risk of illness and to face any health challenge we do find with optimism and vigor.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Food and Drink, Men's Health, Women's Health

10 Comments & Updates to “Breast and Prostate Cancer News”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Morning JP 🙂

    another great post :-). Do you know if those selenium enriched broccoli sprouts are available anywhere? I sometimes raise sprouts in my kitchen with that http://picture.yatego.com/images/49b685f2cc2b70.8/324_0.jpg ).

    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    Good day, Nina! 🙂 Thank you!

    I found this site when searching for an answer to your question:


    I know that some companies also make liquid selenium supplements:

    example: http://www.nutricology.com/Selenium-Solution-8-fl.-oz.-236-mL-Liquid-p-16576.html

    I suppose it would be possible to add a bit of selenium to the water in which the sprouts are grown in. You might be able to incorporate that strategy into your sprouting technique. Just remember that a little selenium goes a long way.

    Be well!


  3. Nina K. Says:

    Thank you JP 🙂 will looking for liquid selenium, good idea ;-)!

    Nina K.

  4. JP Says:

    It’s my pleasure, Nina. 🙂

    If you try it out, please let us know what you think – re: ease of use, taste of the sprouts, etc.

    Be well!


  5. Nina K. Says:

    ..i will report of course :-)…

    Nina K.

  6. JP Says:

    Update: Coffee may reduce prostate cancer risk in a dose dependent manner …


    Nutr Cancer. 2015 Feb 23:1-9.

    Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies.

    This meta-analysis was conducted to assess the association between coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk. Thirteen cohort studies with 34,105 cases and 539,577 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The summary relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for different coffee intake levels were calculated. Dose-response relationship was assessed using generalized least square trend estimation. The pooled RR for the highest vs. lowest coffee intake was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.85-0.95), with no significant heterogeneity across studies (P = 0.267; I2= 17.5%). The dose-response analysis showed a lower cancer risk decreased by 2.5% (RR = 0.975; 95% CI: 0.957-0.995) for every 2 cups/day increment in coffee consumption. Stratifying by geographic region, there was a statistically significant protective influence of coffee on prostate cancer risk among European populations. In subgroup analysis of prostate cancer grade, the summary RRs were 0.89 (95% CI: 0.83-0.96) for nonadvanced, 0.82 (95% CI: 0.61-1.10) for advanced and 0.76 (95% CI: 0.55-1.06) for fatal diseases. Our findings suggest that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer and it also has an inverse association with nonadvanced prostate cancer. Because of the limited number of studies, more prospective studies with large sample size are needed to confirm this association.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Update 06/06/15:


    Cancer. 2015 May 18.

    A phase I trial of mushroom powder in patients with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer: Roles of cytokines and myeloid-derived suppressor cells for Agaricus bisporus-induced prostate-specific antigen responses.

    BACKGROUND: Each year in the United States, nearly 50,000 prostate cancer patients exhibit a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, which can indicate disease recurrence. For patients with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer, we evaluated the effects of white button mushroom (WBM) powder on serum PSA levels and determined the tolerability and biological activity of WBM.

    METHODS: Patients with continuously rising PSA levels were enrolled in the study. Dose escalation was conducted in cohorts of 6; this ensured that no more than 1 patient per cohort experienced dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). The primary objective was to evaluate treatment feasibility and associated toxicity. The secondary objectives were to determine WBM’s effect on serum PSA/androgen levels; myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs); and cytokine levels.

    RESULTS: Thirty-six patients were treated; no DLTs were encountered. The overall PSA response rate was 11%. Two patients receiving 8 and 14 g/d demonstrated complete response (CR): their PSA declined to undetectable levels that continued for 49 and 30 months. Two patients who received 8 and 12 g/d experienced partial response (PR). After 3 months of therapy, 13 (36%) patients experienced some PSA decrease below baseline. Patients with CR and PR demonstrated higher levels of baseline interleukin-15 than nonresponders; for this group, we observed therapy-associated declines in MDSCs.

    CONCLUSIONS: Therapy with WBM appears to both impact PSA levels and modulate the biology of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer by decreasing immunosuppressive factors.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 06/06/16:


    Int Urol Nephrol. 2016 Jun 4.

    Relationship of serum levels and dietary intake of isoflavone, and the novel bacterium Slackia sp. strain NATTS with the risk of prostate cancer: a case-control study among Japanese men.

    PURPOSE: Isoflavones may play a role in the prevention of hormone-related cancers. Equol is an isoflavone metabolized from daidzein in the presence of certain intestinal bacteria. Slackia sp. strain NATTS, a newly identified equol-producing bacterium, was recently isolated from human feces in Japan. We investigated the association of serum levels and dietary intake of isoflavones and Slackia sp. strain NATTS with the risk of prostate cancer in a case-control study among Japanese men.

    METHODS: Fifty-six patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer and 56 hospital controls were enrolled in this study. Isoflavones were assessed by measurement of serum levels and administration of a food frequency questionnaire. Slackia sp. strain NATTS in feces was also measured. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for prostate cancer were then determined using a logistic regression model.

    RESULTS: The adjusted ORs for prostate cancer in comparison with the highest to lowest categories were 0.06 (95 % CI 0.02-0.24) for serum genistein, 0.18 (95 % CI 0.06-0.52) for daidzein, 0.16 (95 % CI 0.06-0.46) for glycitein, 0.52 (95 % CI 0.22-1.22) for equol, 0.86 (95 % CI 0.30-2.48) for dietary genistein, and 0.80 (95 % CI 0.28-2.28) for dietary daidzein. The adjusted OR for prostate cancer in comparison with values above versus below the median was 0.95 (95 % CI 0.42-2.16) for Slackia sp. strain NATTS.

    CONCLUSION: Our study findings suggest that high serum levels of genistein, daidzein, and glycitein are significantly associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer among Japanese men.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 06/26/16:


    Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2016 Jun 23.

    Effectiveness of Pilates-based exercises on upper extremity disorders related with breast cancer treatment.

    Breast cancer treatment causes upper extremity (UE) impairments. This study aims to assess the efficacy of Pilates-based exercises (PE) in comparison with combined exercise (CE) and home exercise (HE) groups, in the rehabilitation of UE disorders related with breast cancer treatment. Fifty-five patients were randomly allocated to PE, CE (consisting of strengthening, stretching and range of motion [ROM] exercises) and HE groups (consisting of CE group exercises). Pain (using visual analogue scale), ROM (using digital goniometer), muscle strength (using dynamometer and pinch gauge), functional status (using Constant-Murley scale and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand scale) were evaluated before and after intervention. For data analyses (using spss 21 version), one-way ANOVA, paired samples t-test and Kruskal-Wallis test were performed (p ≤ .05 was considered statistically significant). The data obtained in this study revealed significant improvements in almost all the parameters measured in the PE and CE groups, and some improvements were superior to HE group. PE seemed to have resulted similar improvements in pain, muscle strength and functional status when compared to CE group. Therefore, PE seems to be an effective method of rehabilitation of patients with UE disorders related with breast cancer treatment, and might be considered for use as an alternative to CE in this population.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 03/27/19:


    Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2019 Mar 26;20(3):911-916.

    Effects of Omega-3 Supplementation on Ki-67 and VEGF Expression Levels and Clinical Outcomes of Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Neoadjuvant CAF Chemotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial Report

    BACKGROUND: Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with an ability to regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis through interaction with inflammatory mediators. The potential additional beneficial effects of Omega-3 on chemotherapy patients with breast cancer is not yet completely revealed.

    METHODS: A double-blind randomized control trial (RCT) involving a total of 48 locally advanced breast cancer patients was conducted. Ki-67 and VEGF expressions, as well as overall survival of patients receiving neoadjuvant cyclophosphamide-doxorubicin-5’fluorouracyl (CAF) chemotherapy plus Omega-3 (intervention group) or placebo (control group), were compared. Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox-regression tests were used to assess conditional disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) between the two groups.

    RESULTS: Decreased Ki-67 expression was observed in the intervention group compared to control (42.4±4.8 versus 39.2±5.3; T-test p=0.032). Decreased Ki-67 expression was observed in intervention compared to control group (42.4±4.8 versus 39.2±5.3; T-test p=0.032). Decreased VEGF expression was also seen in the intervention group compared to control (32.7±5.2 versus 29.5±5.4; T-test p=0.041). VEGF expression positively correlated with Ki-67 expression (Spearman’s test p<0.001, R2=0.541). Overall survival in the intervention group was significantly longer in comparison to the control group (mean survival: 30.9 ± 3.71 versus 25.9 ± 3.6 weeks, Mantel-Cox test p=0.048; HR=0.411, 95%CI: 0.201-0.840). Disease-free survival was significantly longer in the intervention group compared to the control group (mean survival: 28.5 ± 3.3 versus 23.7 ± 3.6, respectively; Mantel-Cox test p=0.044, HR= 0.439, 95%CI: 0.222-0.869).

    CONCLUSION: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improved overall survival and progression-free survival of locally advanced breast cancer treated with CAF neoadjuvant chemotherapy and mastectomy.

    Be well!


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