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In vitro analysis of the anti-prostatic properties of dietary supplement Equiguard™ with herbal formulation PC-Spes
JM Wu PhD, TC Hsieh PhD
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY

AIM: To test whether dietary supplement Equiguard™ which consists of extracts from herbs, respectively, epimedium herb, morinda root, dodder seed, malaytea sourpea fruit, glossy privet fruit, milkvetch root, palmleaf raspberry fruit, Cherokee rose fruit, and Chinese mognoliavine fruit, may be considered an alternative treatment for prostate cancer, based on comparison with PC-Spes, a multi-component herbal formulation, which clinically has shown efficacy against locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer and which has also shown side effects reminiscent of individuals on endocrine therapies.

METHODS: Ethanol extracts of Equiguard™ were incubated with prostate cancer cells mimicking the androgen-responsive and androgen-insensitive state of prostate carcinogenesis. Cell proliferation and prostate specific gene expression were evaluated by flow cytometry, colony formation, and immunoblot analysis, at various times after treatment.

RESULTS: Similar to PC-Spes, Equiguard™ significantly reduced cell growth in androgen-responsive and androgen-refractory prostate carcinoma cells, restricted cell cycle progression both at G1/S and G2/M checkpoints, and reduced the expression of intracellular and secreted prostate specific antigen (PSA), concomitant with lowering of expression of the androgen receptor (AR), in androgen-responsive LNCaP cells. Equiguard™ also induced apoptosis and largely abolished colony formation activities. In LNCaP cells, extracts of Equiguard™ further down-regulated expression of the cell survival gene, NF-KB.

CONCLUSIONS: Equiguard™ may offer potential efficacy for prostate cancer. Its effectiveness may owe to its complex composition capable of simultaneously targeting signal transduction and metabolic pathways thereby circumventing the impaired or dysfunctional mechanisms leading to the diseased states.

To be presented at the 6th International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies in Paris, 10 February 2002, as an oral presentation in the session on Dietary Influences.

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