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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

In vivo effect of PC-SPES on prostate growth and hepatic CYP3A expression in rats.

PC-SPES, a proprietary mixture composed of eight different herbs, is used worldwide as an alternative treatment by prostate cancer patients. It has been suggested that the clinical and in vitro antitumor activity exhibited by PC-SPES may be due to estrogenic activity, which in turn may be mediated by the presence of undeclared prescription drug contaminants. Here, we evaluated the in vivo effects of two different commercial lots of PC-SPES in male and female rats. Our high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis coupled with gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry analysis by an independent laboratory suggested that PC-SPES lot 5430125 was contaminated with diethylstilbestrol (DES), whereas lot 5431249 was not. Treatment of male rats with PC-SPES lot 5430125 or DES alone reduced the weight of androgen target organs and decreased circulating levels of sex steroids and luteinizing hormone, whereas lot 5431249 was without effect. In addition, lot 5430125 and DES, but not lot 5431249 increased uterine weight in female rats. These results suggest that the inhibitory effects on androgen targets are mediated through suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and this suppression is probably due to DES contamination. We assessed the effects of both lots of PC-SPES and DES on hepatic cytochrome P450 expression and activity. Both lots of PC-SPES and DES reduced CYP3A activity and protein levels. Because the response of CYP3A to PC-SPES was not dependent on whether it contained DES, a phytochemical component of PC-SPES is most likely responsible for this effect. Inhibition of CYP3A has important implications for potential herbal-drug interactions.[1]


  1. In vivo effect of PC-SPES on prostate growth and hepatic CYP3A expression in rats. Wadsworth, T., Poonyagariyagorn, H., Sullivan, E., Koop, D., Roselli, C.E. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. (2003) [Pubmed]
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