Beer compound could be effective against prostate cancer say scientists

In collaboration with the Press Association

A chemical found in beer could be effective in warding off prostate cancer, according to a study carried out at Oregon State University in the US.

The research examined xanthohumol, a naturally occurring substance found in hops, which seems to affect protein in cells on the surface of the prostate gland.

Xanthohumol was found to inhibit the action of a protein called NF-kappaB. Under certain circumstances, this protein can encourage the growth of malignancies such as prostate cancer.

Researcher and assistant professor Emily Ho warned that the study did not recommend drinking beer, noting that to obtain the levels of the chemical found to be effective an adult would have to drink 17 beers, enough to cancel out any benefit they might gain.

"We've shown that the addition of xanthohumol in a cell culture blocks the signal of NF-KappaB protein and works to slow down the growth of benign prostatic hyperplasia and malignant prostate cancer cells," said Dr Ho.

Xanthohumol also appeared to prevent the uncontrolled cell reproduction found in malignant cancers by triggering natural cell deaths.

"The results of this study are interesting, but they should not encourage people to drink more beer," said Josephine Querido, science information officer at Cancer Research UK.

"So far, the effects of xanthohumol have only been investigated in laboratory cells, so further studies are needed to see whether the chemical shows the same anti-cancer properties in humans."