Cancer – PSA lowered, Tumor Growth Stalled and Cancer Cell Death by
eating Capsaicin found in Hot Peppers
March 15th, 2006
A study found that
the capsaicin that is found in hot peppers caused prostate cancer cells
to kill themselves. Researchers from the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive
Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA published their
results in today’s issue of Cancer Research.
The capsaicin is
what makes our tongue burn when eating a jalapeños hot pepper. The
researchers found that when they introduced the capsaicin to human
prostate cancer cells it caused the cells to undergo a programmed cell
death called apoptosis.
have studied the use of capsaicin on mice that had prostate cancer
tumors. Their results were promising. There were approximately 80
percent of the prostate cancer cells that went through apoptosis. The
prostate cancer mice that were treated with capsaicin had tumors that
were one-fifth the size of the tumors compared to the mice that were not
"Capsaicin had a
profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in
culture," said Sören Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D. who is currently a visiting
scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of
Medicine. "It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate
tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models."
pepper extract was fed to the mice orally. Lehmann estimates that it
would be the equivalent of 400 milligrams of capsaicin three times a
week for a man weighing 200 pounds. A man would have to eat 3 – 8 fresh
habanera hot peppers which are the highest rated for capsaicin content.
All hot peppers in the same variety can have varying amounts of
discovered the reason why the capsaicin worked. They found that the
capsaicin disrupted the NF-kappa Beta which is a molecular mechanism
which works in the pathways that lead to apoptosis in a variety of cell
"When we noticed
that capsaicin affected NF-kappa Beta, that was an indication that we
might expect some of the apoptotic proteins to be affected," said senior
author, Phillip Koeffler, M.D., who is the director of Hematology and
Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and professor at UCLA.
found the pepper extract was able to restrain the growth of prostate
cancer cells by regulating androgen receptors. The capsaicin caused the
prostate cancer cells to freeze by reducing the amount of testosterone
entering the cell. Prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow.
antigen (PSA) levels were lowered with capsaicin. The pepper extract
also reduced the number of androgen receptors in the prostate tumor
cells. The PSA blood test that is used on men is one of the early
preliminary diagnostic tools used to warn of prostate cancer.
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