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Xanthohumol, an antioxidant flavonoid found in hops, has previously been found to block the ability of the female hormone oestrogen to stimulate breast cancer.
The German study now suggests that it may do the same for prostate cancer by impeding a biological pathway that allows tumours to be fuelled by the male hormone testosterone.
The study, presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference in Houston, shows that xanthohumol blocks a molecular “switch” that allows testosterone to trigger changes in prostate cells.
Says study leader Dr Clarissa Gerhausa: “We hope that one day we can demonstrate that xanthohumol prevents prostate cancer development, first in animal models and then in humans, but we are just at the beginning.”
Previous tests have shown that it takes only 100micrometres of prenylflavonoids to achieve an anti-proliferating and cytotoxic effect in a culture of 500,000 tumour cells.
Copyright Press Association 2009