In vitro analysis of the anti-prostatic properties of dietary supplement EquiguardTM with herbal formulation PC-SPES.

JM Wu, PhD, a TC Hsieh, PhD b

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY

AIM: To test whether dietary supplement EquiguardTM which consists of extracts from herbs, respectively, epimedium herb, morinda root, dodder seed, malaytea scurfpea fruit, glossy privet fruit, milkvetch root, palmleaf raspberry fruit, Cherokee rose fruit, and Chinese magnoliavine 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 also has shown side effects reminiscent of individuals on endocrine therapies. METHODS: Ethanol extracts of EquiguardTM 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, EquiguardTM 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. EquiguardTM also induced apoptosis and largely abolished colony formation activities. In LNCaP cells, extracts of EquiguardTM further down-regulated expression of the cell survival gene, NF-kB. CONCLUSIONS: EquiguardTM 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.

KEY WORDS: Prostate cancer, PSA, AR, PC-SPES, Equiguard&trade.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies; Paris, France; February 9 - 12, 2002; in the section on Dietary Influences.