Prostate cancer is an important public health problem. It is an excellent candidate disease for chemoprevention because prostate cancer is typically slow growing and is usually diagnosed in elderly males. Pygeum africanum (Prunus africana or Rosaceae) is an African prune (plum) tree found in tropical Africa. An extract from the bark of Pygeum africanum has been used in Europe as a prevention and treatment of prostate disorders including benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). More recently in the USA, the phytotherapeutic preparations of Pygeum africanum and Saw palmetto have been marketed for prostate health including prostate cancer prevention and treatment.
The anti-cancer potential of Pygeum africanum has been tested both in vitro (PC-3 and LNCaP cells) and in vivo (TRAMP mouse model).
In tissue culture, ethanolic extracts (30%) of Pygeum africanum inhibited the growth of PC-3 and LNCaP cells; induced apoptosis and altered cell kinetics; down regulated ERalpha and PKC-alpha protein, and demonstrated good binding ability to both mouse uterine estrogen receptors and LNCaP human androgen receptors. TRAMP mice fed Pygeum africanum showed a significant reduction (P = 0.034) in prostate cancer incidence (35%) compared to casein fed mice (62.5%).
Pygeum africanum, which is widely used in Europe and USA for treatment of BPH, has a significant role in regulation of prostate cancer both in vitro and in vivo and therefore may be a useful supplement for people at high risk for developing prostate cancer.
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"Recently, the ethanolic extracts of Pygeum africanum were shown to inhibit human PCa cell growth, induce apoptosis and alter cell kinetics (Shenouda et al., 2007). TRAMP mice, a mouse model to investigate PCa, exhibited a reduction of PCa incidence compared to the control group after feeding with Pygeum africanum extract (Shenouda et al., 2007). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracts from the plant Pygeum africanum are widely used in the therapy of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and in combinational therapy for prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death and the mostly diagnosed form of cancer in men. The androgen receptor (AR) plays a crucial role in the development of the prostate as well as in prostate diseases. Even though the extracts from P. africanum are considered as beneficial for prostate diseases in clinical trials, and some active compounds for treatment of BPH could be identified, compounds responsible for AR inhibition and the molecular mechanism for inhibition of prostatitis need to be identified. Recently, atraric acid and N-butylbenzene-sulfonamide were isolated from a selective dichlormethane extract of P. africanum as two novel AR antagonistic compounds. The molecular mechanisms of AR inhibition were analyzed and are summarized here. Both compounds are the first known natural, complete and specific AR antagonist.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracts from Pygeum africanum are used in the treatment of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer (Pca), major health problems of men in Western countries. The ligand-activated human androgen receptor (AR) supports the growth of the prostate gland. Inhibition of human AR by androgen ablation therapy and by applying synthetic anti-androgens is therefore the primary goal in treatment of patients. Here, we show that atraric acid (AA) isolated from bark material of Pygeum africanum has anti-androgenic activity, inhibiting the transactivation mediated by the ligand-activated human AR. This androgen antagonistic activity is receptor specific and does not inhibit the closely related glucocorticoid or progesterone receptors. Mechanistically, AA inhibits nuclear transport of AR. Importantly, AA is able to efficiently repress the growth of both the androgen-dependent LNCaP and also the androgen-independent C4-2 Pca cells but not that of PC3 or CV1 cells lacking AR. In line with this, AA inhibits the expression of the endogenous prostate specific antigen gene in both LNCaP und C4-2 cells. Analyses of cell invasion revealed that AA inhibits the invasiveness of LNCaP cells through extracellular matrix. Thus, this study provides a molecular insight for AA as a natural anti-androgenic compound and may serve as a basis for AA derivatives as a new chemical lead structure for novel therapeutic compounds as AR antagonists, that can be used for prophylaxis or treatment of prostatic diseases.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 08/2009; 13(8B):2210-23. DOI:10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00426.x · 4.01 Impact Factor