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J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Spring;7(2):59-65.

beta-carboline alkaloid-enriched extract from the amazonian rain forest tree pao pereira suppresses prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


Bark extracts from the Amazonian rain forest tree Geissospermum vellosii (pao pereira), enriched in alpha-carboline alkaloids have significant anticancer activities in certain preclinical models. Because of the predominance of prostate cancer as a cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality for men of Western countries, we preclinically tested the in vitro and in vivo effects of a pao pereira extract against a prototypical human prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP. When added to cultured LNCaP cells, pao pereira extract significantly suppressed cell growth in a dose-dependent fashion and induced apoptosis. Immunodeficient mice heterotopically xenografted with LNCaP cells were gavaged daily with pao pereira extract or vehicle control over 6 weeks. Tumor growth was suppressed by up to 80% in some groups compared with tumors in vehicle-treated mice. However, we observed a striking U-shaped dose-response curve in which the highest dose tested (50 mg/kg/d) was much less effective in inducing tumor cell apoptosis and in reducing tumor cell proliferation and xenograft growth compared with lower doses (10 or 20 mg/kg/d). Although this study supports the idea that a pao pereira bark extract has activity against human prostate cancer, our in vivo results suggest that its potential effectiveness in prostate cancer treatment may be limited to a narrow dose range.

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