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Targeting cell cycle traverse, induction of apoptosis, and regulation of hormone receptor AR by herbal formulations EquiguardTM and PC-SPES in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Tze-Chen Hsieh, Joseph M. Wu, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in most developed countries. Common treatment of prostate cancer involves androgen deprivation, pioneered by the use estrogen agonists, such as diethylstilbesterol (DES), more than several decades ago. This form of therapy is limited by significant adverse effects induced by the estrogenicity of DES, and is additionally complicated by the emergence of androgen-insensitive disease. Various other treatment modalities also have met with limited success, presumably due to the complexity and heterogeneity of prostate cancer. The dietary supplements EquiguardTM and PC-SPES are multi-component herbal mixtures formulated to have anti-prostatic cancer properties and hence offer potential in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. In the case of PC-SPES, results of several limited clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy against locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer. Using a panel of androgen-responsive and androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells, we show that ethanol extracts of EquiguardTM restricts cell cycle traverse, induces apoptosis, reduces clonogenicity, down regulates AR and PSA, by a magnitude similar to what has been previously reported with PC-SPES. These results support the hypothesis that treatment of prostate cancer can be alternatively approached using multi-targeted agents. Moreover, functionality and efficacy of herbal formulations such as PC-SPES and EquiguardTM most likely require their consideration as a modular units comprising of a cocktail of bioactive, inactive, and counter-active chemical ingredients manifesting a broad spectrum of biological activities.

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