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Mol Urol. 1999;3(3):333-336.

Survey of UsToo Members and Other Prostate Cancer Patients to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of PC-SPES.

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  • 1UsToo International, Inc., Oak Brook, Illinois.


Prostate cancer survivors frequently seek natural remedies for elevated or rising PSA concentrations to forestall the necessity for more definitive modalities. PC-SPES is one of the most widely used of the complementary medicines. It consists of eight Chinese herbs, and although it contains no estrogen, it does exhibit some estrogenic effects. For this reason, UsToo was anxious to determine just how successful the product is and whether any side effects are present. A four-page survey form was designed and pretested on a dozen patients. After refinement, the form was sent to 200 PC-SPES users, mostly UsToo members, with anonymity assured. In only five cases did respondents not identify themselves. After 102 responses had been received, a compilation form was designed to simplify computer database entry of the survey results. This produced a spreadsheet of all 102 respondents' categorized answers. Final analysis followed, with emphasis on prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentrations before and after PC-SPES use, quality of life (QoL), side effects, dosage, and relation to concurrent treatment modalities. Graphs were then constructed on each respondent for study of slope data and PSA changes. Twenty respondents provided insufficient data for analysis; the remaining 82 surveys gave us a good picture of PC-SPES usage and results, as well as information on commingling of other modalities with PC-SPES. Beneficial effects were reported by 77% of the respondents, with 23% reporting more limited or marginal results. Side effects reported were breast tenderness and lowered libido, with three respondents also reporting leg edema. There were no reported cases of circulatory problems or thrombosis. Declines in PSA were reported of as much as 70 ng/mL that were sustained for as long as the respondents have been using PC-SPES, approaching 2 years in some cases. No clinically significant adverse effects were observed. For some men, PC-SPES provides an alternative to hormonal therapy; has a palliative effect when used by patients with advanced, metastatic disease; and overall has a reported 77% effectiveness, with 87% effectiveness when recommended dosages are adhered to.

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