Red wine compound resveratrol could aid prostate cancer treatment

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Resveratrol, a compound found commonly in red wine, can make prostate tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment, according to a preliminary research published in the Journal of Andrology and Cancer Science.

“Other studies have noted that resveratrol made tumor cells more susceptible to chemotherapy, and we wanted to see if it had the same effect for radiation therapy,” said Michael Nicholl, an assistant professor of surgical oncology in the University of Missouri School of Medicine. “We found that when exposed to the compound, the tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately.”

Resveratrol increased the activity of perforin and granzyme B, two proteins in prostate tumor cells. By increasing the expression of the two proteins, Nicholl found that up to 97 percent of the tumor cells died following radiation treatment.

“It is critical that both proteins, perforin and granzyme B, are present in order to kill the tumor cells, and we found that the resveratrol helped to increase their activity in prostate tumor cells,” Nicholl said. “Following the resveratrol-radiation treatment, we realized that we were able to kill many more tumor cells when compared with treating the tumor with radiation alone. It’s important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells.”

Resveratrol is available as a dietary supplement and is abundant in foods such as red grapes, blueberries and nuts. Previous studies have found the compound could help treat age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. But most research is in the preliminary stage and the Federal Drug Administration has not approved resveratrol for the treatment of any condition.

Photo credit: Christian Basi of the University of Missouri

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