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

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By incorporating PC-SPES into the rat diet, researchers conducting an in vivo study showed antitumor effects using a Dunning R3327 rat prostate cancer 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. Pulmonary tumors were induced by intradermal injections 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.[8,9]

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 with tumor growth in the control group. Cytological analysis showed apoptosis in the treated group that was not apparent in the control group.[10]

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 Human/Clinical Trials section of this summary. 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 hormone-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 [10,11,12] In both studies, the patients were given capsules manufactured between 1996 and 1999, a time when contamination levels of DES were highest.[6]

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