Researchers from Getafe University in Madrid, and published in BJU International found that five different polyphenols, antoxidants present in high levels in red wine, inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube and encouraged cancer cells to "commit suicide"-a natural process called apoptosis.
The findings, if confirmed by larger studies, may help to explain the higher rates of prostate cancer in the US and non-Mediterranean European countries, according to Dr. I. Romero and colleagues. The rate of prostate cancer in Mediterranean countries, where intake of red wine and other polyphenol-rich foods - namely fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, is high, tends to be lower.
The study examined the effect of five polyphenols found in red wine, namely gallic acid, tannic acid, morin, quercetin and rutin -on prostate cancer cells. The researchers added varying amounts of these compounds to a dish containing prostate cancer cells. All five compounds inhibited cell proliferation and improved apoptosis, compared with an inactive compound, after 24 hours.
The results point to a need for studies investigating the effects of these compounds in humans, with the potential goal of developing recommendations for their use in cancer prevention,"The Mediterranean diet is considered to be protective against the endocrine cancers (including prostate cancer), and features a low animal-fat and meat content, with a high intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, pasta and wine," states Romero "Prostate cancer is the second-deadliest form of cancer for US men, after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society".
SOURCE: Romero I et al. Polyphenols in red wine inhibit the proliferation and induce apoptosis of LNCaP cells. BJU International 2002;89:950-4.