Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that feeding male mice a compound found in red wine, called resveratrol, made them 87 percent less likely to develop the most fatal type of prostate cancer.
Additionally, the researchers found that mice which were fed resveratrol, but still got cancer, developed less serious tumours, and were 48 percent more likely to have tumour growth stopped or slowed when compared to mice not given resveratrol.
The study "adds to a growing body of evidence that resveratrol consumption through red wine has powerful chemoprevention properties, in addition to its apparent heart-health benefits," the lead author of the study, Coral Lamartiniere of UAB's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, said in a statement.
Lamartiniere said his research team has been satisfyingly surprised at the chemoprevention power of wine and berry polyphenols like resveratrol in animal models.
"A cancer prevention researcher lives for these days when they can make that kind of finding. I drink a glass a day every evening because I'm concerned about prostate cancer. It runs in my family," Lamartiniere said.
Lamartiniere and his team is now trying to find how much resveratrol humans would need to drink to gain from its cancer-prevention qualities.
Meanwhile, UAB says doctors generally recommend moderate red wine consumption, which is an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
The findings of the study are published in the online edition of Carcinogenesis.