Anti-tumor effects of PC-SPES, an herbal formulation in prostate cancer.
- R K Tiwari
- J Geliebter
- V P Garikapaty
- S P Yedavelli
- S Chen
- A Mittelman
Published online on: Thursday, April 1, 1999
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst males in developed countries. Surgical removal of the prostate effectively cures the primary disease but the metastatic disease is refractory to most forms of chemotherapy. There is a clinical need to develop novel treatment strategies that exploit the mode of action of both conventional and alternative drugs/medicinal plants. We have been investigating the anti-proliferative and anti-tumor effects of an herbal preparation termed PC-SPES (patent pending, US serial number 08/697, 920) which is a refined powder of eight different medicinal plants. PC-SPES administered as a food supplement caused a dramatic decrease in prostate specific antigen levels in some prostate cancer patients with advanced disease. These preliminary clinical findings laid the foundation for a program to examine the in vitro and in vivo effects of PC-SPES, and identify the active component in this mixture so that a standardized treatment regimen can be formulated. In this communication, we report the anti-tumor effects of PC-SPES incorporated in the diet utilizing a well studied Dunning R3327 rat prostate cancer model. Dietary PC-SPES at levels of 0.05% and 0.025% did not exhibit any toxicity and no significant difference in food intake was noted at the end of six weeks. Dose dependent inhibitory effect of dietary PC-SPES was observed on both tumor incidence (P=0. 01) and rate of tumor growth when tumors were induced in syngeneic Copenhagen rats by intradermal injections of MAT-LyLu cells that are known to metastasize in the lung and lymph nodes. The number of pulmonary metastases in animals on PC-SPES that showed no primary tumor growth had no metastatic lesions in the lung, however, in animals that did not respond to PC-SPES, the number of pulmonary metastases was not significantly different from the non-treated controls. The significant anti-tumor effects of PC-SPES on MAT-LyLu induced tumorigenesis and metastasis in Copenhagen rats, in general refractory to most conventional therapy, suggests a therapeutic benefit of this herbal food supplement and may be a useful adjuvant to conventional therapeutic modalities.