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PC-SPES (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Human / Clinical Studies


In a prospective clinical trial of 16 men with stage D3 metastatic prostate cancer in which all patients had failed therapy and had disease progression, the effects of PC-SPES on pain, quality of life, and side effects were assessed. Previous therapy was either orchidectomy or a luteinizing hormone-releasing agonist with or without antiandrogen. Hormonal therapy was continued throughout the trial to avoid the known withdrawal effect of antiandrogen on PSA levels. There was a significant decrease in pain scores such that the 14 patients on analgesics required an average of 40% less analgesics while taking PC-SPES. PC-SPES treatment was associated with improved function and emotional and physical well-being. PSA levels declined significantly after PC-SPES therapy (>50%). Side effects were breast tenderness, deep venous thrombosis, and mild dyspepsia.[3,4]

In a study of 70 patients, 37 with androgen -dependent (AD) disease and 33 with AI disease, the AD cohort was treated with PC-SPES only after an initial treatment with prostatectomy, radiation, cryotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy. Median duration of PSA response was greater than 57 weeks. All patients in the AD cohort had PSA declines within a range of 80% to 100%, and two patients with bone metastases showed improvement on radiographic analysis. Within the AI cohort, 54% (19 of 35) had a PSA decrease of greater than 50%, with median time to nadir of 10 weeks and a median duration of 18 weeks. Eight of the 16 patients who had received ketoconazole therapy prior to PC-SPES also obtained a decrease of greater than 50% in their PSA values. Testosterone levels within the AD group decreased to castrate levels (<50 ng/mL) in 94% of patients (31 of 33), and libido (25 of 25) and potency (15 of 15) were lost in all patients who entered the study. Side effects were hot flashes, gynecomastia/gynecodynia, and thromboembolic effects in 3 of 70 patients. Although the results of this trial were promising for the treatment of both AI and AD prostate cancer, it is not possible to assess what was responsible for these effects. This trial used PC-SPES from one single lot, but the published study does not indicate the lot number. The research was completed before 2000. No attempt was made to assess the possible contamination of the product.[3,5]

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