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Animal Studies

By incorporating PC-SPES into the rat diet, researchers conducting an in vivo study showed antitumor effects using a Dunning R3327 rat prostatecancer model. Levels of 0.05% and 0.025% of dietary PC-SPES were fed to the rats over a 6-week period. No toxicity was seen, nor was there a difference in the food intake of the rats during this time. Pulmonarytumors were induced by intradermalinjections of MAT-LyLu cells, which are particularly resistant to many forms of treatment. Tumor incidence was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner, and the rate of tumor growth showed the same dose-dependent response.[1,2]

In another study, which used male BNX nu/nu immunodeficient nude mice, PC-SPES was also administered orally, but in suspension. The mice received 300 rad of whole-body irradiation, after which they were inoculated with either PC-3 or DU-145 prostate cancer cell lines. Treatment with PC-SPES began the day after injection. Results showed that PC-SPES suppressed the growth of DU-145 tumors compared to tumor growth in the control group. Cytological analysis showed apoptosis in the treated group that was not apparent in controls.[3]

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In two other studies, clinical studies of patients were initiated along with in vitro and in vivo research. The results of these two patient groups are discussed in the Clinical Trials section. The first study, preceding more extensive research, examined in vitro activity of PC-SPES against LNCaP, LNCaP-bcl-2, PC-3, and DU-145 cells lines. Results showed that PC-SPES was active in suppressing both hormone-sensitive and -insensitive prostate cancer cell lines. In the subsequent study, research was conducted in vitro on the ability of PC-SPES to induce apoptosis in androgen-independent (AI) prostate cancer cell lines, and in vivo on the effect of oral PC-SPES on the growth of xenografted PC-3 tumors in immunodeficient male mice. Mice in the treatment arm-in which treatment was started 1 week after implantation-showed a significant decrease in tumor weight when compared with mice in the control arm. PC-SPES showed activity against both androgen-sensitive and AI prostate cancer in the patients and suppressed tumor growth in AI tumors in mice. Reviewed in [3,4,5] In both studies, the patients were given capsules manufactured between 1996 and 1999, a time when contamination levels of diethylstilbestrol (DES) were highest.[6]

Another study in rats demonstrated that PC-SPES (one lot contaminated with DES and one lot without DES) causes some decrease in the activity of a liverenzyme involved in drugmetabolism (CYP3A).[7]


  1. Tiwari RK, Geliebter J, Garikapaty VP, et al.: Anti-tumor effects of PC-SPES, an herbal formulation in prostate cancer. Int J Oncol 14 (4): 713-9, 1999.
  2. Geliebter J, Mittelman A, Tiwari RK: PC-SPES and prostate cancer. J Nutr 131 (1): 164S-166S, 2001.
  3. de la Taille A, Buttyan R, Hayek O, et al.: Herbal therapy PC-SPES: in vitro effects and evaluation of its efficacy in 69 patients with prostate cancer. J Urol 164 (4): 1229-34, 2000.
  4. Pirani JF: The effects of phytotherapeutic agents on prostate cancer: an overview of recent clinical trials of PC SPES. Urology 58 (2 Suppl 1): 36-8, 2001.
  5. de la Taille A, Hayek OR, Buttyan R, et al.: Effects of a phytotherapeutic agent, PC-SPES, on prostate cancer: a preliminary investigation on human cell lines and patients. BJU Int 84 (7): 845-50, 1999.
  6. Sovak M, Seligson AL, Konas M, et al.: Herbal composition PC-SPES for management of prostate cancer: identification of active principles. J Natl Cancer Inst 94 (17): 1275-81, 2002.
  7. Wadsworth T, Poonyagariyagorn H, Sullivan E, et al.: In vivo effect of PC-SPES on prostate growth and hepatic CYP3A expression in rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 306 (1): 187-94, 2003.

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Last Updated: October 07, 2011
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