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Cancer Health Center

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PC-SPES (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Adverse Effects

Adverse effects of PC-SPES treatment were similar to those of hormonal drugs. The percentages indicate the approximate low-to-high range of side effects reported in the studies. It is difficult to compile accurate numbers from all studies reporting side effects because they are not consistently reported. Some studies concatenated categories of side effects, some did not report specific numbers or percentages, and some reported a few side effects while not reporting others. The following references indicate the studies from which the percentages come:


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  1. Oh WK, George DJ, Hackmann K, et al.: Activity of the herbal combination, PC-SPES, in the treatment of patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer. Urology 57 (1): 122-6, 2001.
  2. Oh WK, George DJ, Kantoff PW: Rapid rise of serum prostate specific antigen levels after discontinuation of the herbal therapy PC-SPES in patients with advanced prostate carcinoma: report of four cases. Cancer 94 (3): 686-9, 2002.
  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. 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.
  5. Small EJ, Frohlich MW, Bok R, et al.: Prospective trial of the herbal supplement PC-SPES in patients with progressive prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol 18 (21): 3595-603, 2000.
  6. Pfeifer BL, Pirani JF, Hamann SR, et al.: PC-SPES, a dietary supplement for the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer. BJU Int 85 (4): 481-5, 2000.
  7. DiPaola RS, Zhang H, Lambert GH, et al.: Clinical and biologic activity of an estrogenic herbal combination (PC-SPES) in prostate cancer. N Engl J Med 339 (12): 785-91, 1998.
  8. Moyad MA, Pienta KJ, Montie JE: Use of PC-SPES, a commercially available supplement for prostate cancer, in a patient with hormone-naive disease. Urology 54 (2): 319-23; discussion 323-4, 1999.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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