New research shows that vitamin E could inhibit the development of prostate cancer. Researchers from the University of Rochester in the US reported on their study in the 28 May Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers carried out experiments on the alpha-tocopheryl succinate form of vitamin E. They found that the vitamin suppressed the production of a receptor for testosterone, the androgen receptor (AR), which is a marker of the cancer's development.
By lowering the number of ARs in a prostate cancer cell, the genes that stimulate cancer growth are less likely to be activated, report the authors. Vitamin E was also found to inhibit the growth of the prostate cancer cells.
It was suggested that vitamin E supplements could be added to other AR inhibiting methods to destroy potential for prostate cancer cell growth.
The researchers found that using the pharmaceutical anti-androgen, hydroxyflutamide, commonly used in prostate cancer patients, simultaneously with vitamin E, resulted in a more significant inhibitory effect on LNCaP cell growth, than when the drug was used alone.
The study's authors hope the research could lead to new therapies in preventing and treating prostate cancer.
"As we have found that vitamin E reduced the amount of androgen receptor, a key factor for the progression of prostate cancer, this could be the base to concert different therapy strategies," said Shuyuan Yeh, a study author and an assistant professor in the department of urology and pathology at the university.
"For example, anti-androgen will prevent androgen's bind on androgen receptor and vitamin E would reduce the amount of androgen receptor. The combination of anti-androgen and vitamin E would possibly elicit better therapy effects."The authors also suggested that vitamin E might work best when consumed with other natural treatments that also have promising results against prostate cancer, such as vitamin D and selenium.