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: Cancer is second leading cause of death. World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world's population still rely mainly on traditional medicines for their basic health care. During the last decades of the 20th century, medical researchers have developed new methods for cancer treatment by combining surgery with chemotherapy, radiations and various phytochemicals obtained from different plant species. It is important to note that chemotherapy not only kills the cancer cells but it has some side effects on normal cells too. Medicines obtained from plants have less or no side-effects. Present investigation is mainly concerned with the documentation of anti-cancer plant species around the globe. This database includes 576 plants describing their name, plant part used, active principle, families and various cell lines used in different studies. These plants are used directly or their extracts made in different solvents or only active components are isolated from the plant and used against cancer. Different plant parts like seeds, roots, fruit, flower, bud, stem, leaves and sometimes the whole plant have been used in cancer treatment.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research 27(2):23-53.