Gamma-Tocotrienol, one of the eight forms of Vitamin E, may fight recurrent prostate cancer

November 02, 2010

Vitamin E exists in eight different structures; four tocopherols (these are more often used in supplements especially the d-alpha tocopherol structure which is the variety used in most supplements) and four tocotrienols (these are very important versions of vitamin E that are sadly lacking in most supplements). Scientists are discovering a swarm of very healthy benefits arising from the consumption of both tocopherols and perhaps especially tocotrienols.

     Queensland University of technology researchers are leading the fight against recurrent prostate cancer which kills thousands of men in Australia each year. Led by Dr. Patrick Ling, the researchers have found that Gamma-Tocotrienol, one of eight structures of Vitamin E, strongly fights prostate cancer even in its recurrent and more dangerous form.

     Dr Ling and associates are performing a costly one-year study to measure the long-term effectiveness of Gamma-Tocotrienol in preventing the recurrence of previously treated prostate cancer. Dr Ling said existing chemotherapy and hormonal blocking treatment of prostate cancer was insufficient because it failed to kill of the prostate cancer stem cells. Stem cells are parent cells; they can indefinitely renew themselves and are the source for cells that transform into specialized cells such as heart cells, pancreatic cells, or blood cells. Prostate cancer stem cells are believed to be responsible for the regrowth of cancerous tumors after treatment. 

     The researchers have discovered that Gamma-Tocotrienol can kill off the prostate cancer stem cells. “Currently there is no effective treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, because it grows back after conventional therapies in more that 70 % of cases” Dr. Ling states. ‘But with Gamma-Tocotrienol researchers have found a better way to treat prostate cancer, which has the potential to inhibit recurrence of the disease”.

     Dr. Ling said that in animal trials, Gamma-Tocotrienol completely inhibited tumor formation in more than 70% of the animals in which prostate cancerous cells were implanted; the animals were fed the Tocotrienol in their water. In the remaining 30% tumor regrowth was considerably reduced. In animals not fed Gamma-Tocotrienol, 100% developed prostate cancer recurrence. These findings were published separately in the International Journal of Cancer. Dr. Ling also states that “Other research has found that Gamma-Tocotrienol is also effective in suppressing other types of cancer including breast, colon, liver, and gastric”. Recent experiments conducted at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston demonstrated that Gamma-Tocotrienol helped suppress pancreatic tumor growth as well as making the cancerous tumors more sensitive to gemcitabine, one of two drugs approved to treat the disease. This research was reported online on September 23, 2010 in the journal Cancer Research. For more detail on the University of Texas study see our Radio Study for October 1, 2010
Gamma-Tocotrienol version of Vitamin E helps fight pancreatic cancer.

     Dr. Ling pointed out while not all Vitamin E preparations had the active constituent, natural Vitamin E obtained from palm oil is rich in Gamma-Tocotrienol.