1Central Laboratory, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
2Department of Pharmacognosy, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
3Chemical Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
4Department of Urology and Urooncological Centre, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

Background: Features of prostate cancer, such as high incidence
and long latency period, offer many occasions to work out strategies
of prevention and/or treatment to suppress or revert this disease.
Preliminary tests suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one
of the useful means to prevent lung and skin cancer. Other studies
have shown that beet juice inhibits the formation of cancer causing
compounds called nitrosamines. It is well documented, that
serum levels of several cytokines and growth factors are increased
and IL-2 is decreased in the presence of metastasis in lymph nodes
and bones. Our aim was to test the impact of regular beetroot
(Beta vulgaris L. ssp. esculenta var. rubra) intake on cytokine pattern
in metastatic prostate cancer.

Patients and methods: 18 (age range 68±8) patients with
metastatic prostate cancer during chemotherapy started to consume
beetroot in the form of powder for one month. Serum levels
of 9 cytokines and 3 growth factors were assessed before initiation,
then after completion of the study .PSA and routine laboratory
investigations were also performed.

Results: The levels of proinflammatory cytokines shown of a declining
tendency, but these changes were not significant (IL1a, p =
0.084; IL6, p=0.154; IL8, p=0.578). It was a beneficial effect.
Measured parameters of anti-inflammatory cytokines also
decreased (IL2, p = 0.255; p=0.38; p=0.204), but the levels of
EGF increased significantly (p = 0.003) and PSA was weekly higher
(p = 0.441). These were disadvantageous results.
Conclusion: Consumption of beetroot decreased the proinflammatory
cytokines and in some of patients (44%) increased the level of
IL2. In other patients (52%) we measured lower level of PSA. These
were hopeful results. But increased EGF levels draw attention to
the fact, that further investigations and correlation analysis must
be performed, in which patient beneficial effect observed.