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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Feb 13;379(3):795-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.11.114. Epub 2008 Dec 6.

Characterizing components of the Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (SPBE) on prostate cancer cell growth and traction.

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Center for Medical Physics and Technology, Biophysics Group, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Henke Strasse 91, Erlangen, Germany.


Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (SPBE) is applied for prostate health and treatment of urinary tract infections, nonbacterial prostitis and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) in man. An assumption is that SPBE affects tumor cell progression and migration in breast and prostate tissue. In this work, DU-145 cells were used to demonstrate that SPBE and its sterol components, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol, inhibit prostate cancer growth by increasing p53 protein expression and also inhibit carcinoma development by decreasing p21 and p27 protein expression. In the presence of cholesterol, these features are not only reversed but increased significantly. The results show for the first time the potential of SPBE, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol as potential anti-tumor agents. Since the protein p53 is also regarded as nuclear matrix protein facilitating actin cytoskeletal binding, 2D tractions were measured. The cell adhesion strength in the presence of SPBE, beta-sitosterol and cholesterol and the observation was that the increase in p53 expression triggered an increase in the intracellular force generation. The results suggest a dual function of p53 in cells.

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