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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 247504, 12 pages
Research Article

Pomegranate Juice Metabolites, Ellagic Acid and Urolithin A, Synergistically Inhibit Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cell Growth via Distinct Effects on Cell Cycle Control and Apoptosis

UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Warren Hall, 900 Veteran Avenue 1-2-213, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1742, USA

Received 21 November 2012; Accepted 19 February 2013

Academic Editor: Ari M. Mackler

Copyright © 2013 Roberto Vicinanza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ellagitannins (ETs) from pomegranate juice (PJ) are bioactive polyphenols with chemopreventive potential against prostate cancer (PCa). ETs are not absorbed intact but are partially hydrolyzed in the gut to ellagic acid (EA). Colonic microflora can convert EA to urolithin A (UA), and EA and UA enter the circulation after PJ consumption. Here, we studied the effects of EA and UA on cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis in DU-145 and PC-3 androgen-independent PCa cells and whether combinations of EA and UA affected cell proliferation. EA demonstrated greater dose-dependent antiproliferative effects in both cell lines compared to UA. EA induced cell cycle arrest in S phase associated with decreased cyclin B1 and cyclin D1 levels. UA induced a G2/M arrest and increased cyclin B1 and cdc2 phosphorylation at tyrosine-15, suggesting inactivation of the cyclin B1/cdc2 kinase complex. EA induced apoptosis in both cell lines, while UA had a less pronounced proapoptotic effect only in DU-145. Cotreatment with low concentrations of EA and UA dramatically decreased cell proliferation, exhibiting synergism in PC-3 cells evaluated by isobolographic analysis and combination index. These data provide information on pomegranate metabolites for the prevention of PCa recurrence, supporting the role of gut flora-derived metabolites for cancer prevention.