How does PC-Spes work? A number of laboratories have tackled the problem, testing the herbal formula on prostate cancer cell cultures and mice. One of the first reports to be published discovered ‘profound biologic effects of PC-Spes on prostate cancer cells’, including cell inhibition and death.
The researchers believed that the antitumour mechanism of PC-Spes is ‘complex, involving multiple metabolic pathways’ (Urology, 2001; 58 [Suppl 1]: 28-35). This suggested that PC-Spes had a different mode of action from conventional hormone drugs, which could explain why it worked when conventional treatment had failed.
When the New York Medical College laboratory tested the individual herbs on prostate cancer cells, each herb was found to suppress the tumour growth rate – but not to the same extent as the whole formula. ‘It is unlikely that the activity of a single herb can account for the overall effects of PC-Spes,’ the researchers reported (Int J Oncol, 2002; 20: 583-8).