One study has investigated the effects of vitamin E deficiency on pubertal growth and maturation of the rat prostate. The rats were placed on a vitamin E deficient diet at four weeks of age and were followed for 15-26 weeks. The study showed that vitamin E deficiency in the body led to a less significant increase in weight, DNA, and protein in the lateral lobe of prostate compared with control rats. The group also concluded that vitamin E deficiency may contribute to the delay of prostate differentiation.33
In spite of the constructive role of vitamin E in the development of prostate, the role of vitamin E in the incidence and progression of prostate cancer are controversial in animal models. In 3,2'-dimethyl-4-aminobiphenyl (DMBA)-initiated rat prostate carcinogenesis, the modifying effects of six naturally occurring antioxidants, including a-tocopherol, were investigated. Atypical hyperplasias and carcinomas of the prostate were observed in the ventral lobe in all groups treated with DMAB. However, the incidence of these lesions was not significantly different between carcinogen control and antioxidant-treated groups. There were also no significant increases or decreases in the incidence of tumors in any other organs.34
Fleshner et al. also investigated the effects between vitamin E and a high-fat diet on prostate cancer development. Tumors were induced by subcutaneous injection of LNCaP cells in nude mice and they were treated with dl-a-tocopherol at 11.4 mg/kg body weight/day while divided into four different groups (regular diet, high-fat diet, regular diet with supplemental vitamin E, high-fat diet with supplemental vitamin E). They concluded that the mechanism for fat induced growth of prostate cancer cells is mediated by oxidative stress, thus making vitamin E an effective solution.35
Vitamin E has been shown to enhance the growth-inhibitory effects of adriamycin on human prostatic carcinoma cells in vitro. Vitamin E used in combination with adriamycin was evaluated in the treatment of Nb rat prostate adenocarcinoma. The adriamycin-vitamin E treatment groups had the lowest average final tumor volume, but the mortality rate increased. These results suggest that vitamin E may play a role in enhancing the cytotoxic effects of adriamycin.36 Recently, the antineoplastic effects of VES, selenium, and lycopene were tested on Lady mouse prostate cancer model. The results suggested that oral feeding of VES, selenium, and lycopene will elicit a better antineoplastic effects.37 Overall the antineoplastic effects of vitamin E and its analogs need further evaluation in animals.
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