At Columbia University, New York City, Dr. Aaron Katz, in an online publication of Integrative Cancer Therapies reported positive effects on both androgen dependent (AD) and androgen independent (AI) prostate cancer of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) on both human and mouse prostate cancer cell lines (in the petrie dish). Dr. Kata, the lead researcher, reported that MCP inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Dr. Jun Yan, lead author, said, “Our findings clearly demonstrate that MCP possesses anti-prostate cancer properties in both androgen-dependent (hormonal sensitive) and androgen-independent (hormonal resistant) prostate cancer cells. These results strongly suggest that MCP can be a promising chemopreventive and therapeutic agent against this malignancy.”

Modified Citrus Pectin is derived from the pith of citrus fruit and then modified to meet specific molecular chain and weight characteristics. Their data suggests that MCP interferes with the binding properties of the prostate cancer cell surface, specifically with the proteins called galectins.

“Considering the low molecular weight of the MCP used in the study,” Dr. Yan continues, “we speculate that this new MCP will be more readily absorbed in the human body, which means that the relative concentration reaching the prostate gland will be greater. Therefore, taking this MCP may be an excellent way to prevent prostate cancer, given that prostate cancer is regarded as a preventable cancer. Moreover, this MCP may be an effective adjuvant medicine for cancer therapy.”

MCP binds to galectin proteins and prevents the prostate cancer cells from being able to adhere to each other and to the inner wall of blood vessels. This inhibits both tumor growth and angiogenesis. This study supports other prior studies of MCP with prostate cancer. These other studies demonstrated clinical benefit in men with advanced solid tumors, it also is able to lengthen PSA doubling time in men with recurrent and advanced prostate cancer.

Dr. Isaac Eliaz, who developed the Modified Citrus Pectin used in this syudy notes said, “Androgen-dependent prostate cancer is the more common type of prostate cancer, and the one more often found in localized and less aggressive disease. What is most significant is the ability of this specific type of MCP to induce apoptosis in androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines, which is the more aggressive cancer that can metastasize and lead to death. Slowing down the progression of this cancer has a direct effect on prolonging the life of these individuals.”

Dr. Eliaz also said, “The anti-metastatic role of MCP is well established. The fact that it can have a direct effect on the cancer itself makes it important in prevention, in early stage prostate cancer (which is usually hormonal sensitive-androgen dependent), and in later stage advanced prostate cancer. Its safety and the fact that it doesn’t work via hormonal induced mechanisms of action makes it an excellent agent to be used in conjunction with other therapies.”

Additional studies of MCP with prostate cancer are needed. If the results can be shown to be replicable in humans, MCP can be added to as a safe supplement for chemoprevention and for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW