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nightsurfer on 2009-12-01Berberine, a natural product, induces G1-phase cell cycle arrest and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human prostate carcinoma cells.
Mantena SK, Sharma SD, Katiyar SK.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2006 Feb;5(2):296-308.
The effectiveness of berberine in checking the growth of androgen-insensitive, as well as androgen-sensitive, prostate cancer cells without affecting the growth of normal prostate epithelial cells indicates that it may be a promising candidate for prostate cancer therapy.
The evaluation of ancient herbal medicines may indicate novel strategies for the treatment of prostate cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men (1). In our present investigation, we show that a naturally occurring isoquinoline alkaloid, berberine, significantly inhibits the proliferation and reduces the viability of DU145 and PC-3 as well as LNCaP cells (Fig. 1), which suggests that berberine may be an effective chemotherapeutic agent against both androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells. Importantly, we found that berberine did not exhibit toxicity to nonneoplastic human prostate epithelial cells under the conditions used, except for a moderate reduction in cell viability at higher concentrations when cells were treated in vitro for an extended period of time.
In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate that berberine inhibits proliferation and induces G1-phase arrest and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells but not in normal human prostate epithelial cells. In addition, we provide mechanistic evidence that berberine-induced apoptosis in prostate carcinoma cells, particularly hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma cells, is mediated through enhanced expression of Bax, disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and activation of caspase-3.