MEN now have another excuse to go down the pub thanks to research suggesting a compound in beer may prevent prostate cancer.
Tests showed the ingredient, xanthohumol, blocked a biological pathway that allows prostate cancer to be fuelled by the male hormone testosterone.
The disease is commonly treated with drugs that act in a similar way.
Xanthohumol is a powerful antioxidant derived from hops. It belongs to a family of chemicals called flavonoids found in many fruits, vegetables and spices that are known to have anti-cancer properties.
Previous studies have already suggested that xanthohumol may block the female hormone oestrogen’s ability to stimulate breast cancer. Scientists now believe it may have a similar effect in men.
In laboratory tests, the compound blocked the molecular “switch” that allows testosterone to trigger changes in prostate cells that may lead to cancer.
Study leader Dr Clarissa Gerhausa, from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, said: “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.”
Further research involving rats showed that xanthohumol reduced the effects of hormone signalling in prostate tissue.
Details of the study were presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference in Houston, Texas, US.
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