An orally active Amazonian plant extract (BIRM) inhibits prostate cancer growth and metastasis.

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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2003 Jul;52(1):59-66. Epub 2003 May 7.

An orally active Amazonian plant extract (BIRM) inhibits prostate cancer growth and metastasis.
Dandekar DS, Lokeshwar VB, Cevallos-Arellano E, Soloway MS, Lokeshwar BL.
Department of Urology, McKnight Vision Research Building, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33101, USA.
PURPOSE:
Poor efficacy of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs against metastatic
hormone-refractory prostate cancer (CaP) drives patients to try
"alternative medicine". The antitumor activity of one such agent,
"BIRM" (biological immune response modulator; "Simple Ecuadorian Oral
Solution: an extract of an Amazonian plant"), was characterized in
vitro and in vivo using established CaP cell lines and a tumor model.

METHODS: The cytotoxicity of BIRM in four human and one rat CaP cell
line was evaluated using cell proliferation-inhibition and clonogenic
survival assays. BIRM-induced apoptosis, alterations in cell cycle
phase progression and inhibition of the extracellular matrix-degrading
enzyme hyaluronidase were also investigated in these cells. The in vivo
efficacy of BIRM was evaluated in rats with subcutaneous tumor implants
of Dunning EGFP-MAT LyLu cells. The active species in BIRM were
characterized by gel filtration chromatography.
RESULTS: BIRM inhibited
cell proliferation and clonogenic growth of the CaP cells (IC(50) about
8.0 microl/ml). It increased cell accumulation in the G(0)/G(1) phase
by 33.8% and decreased the proportion of cells in S phase by 54.6%.
Apoptotic cell death in BIRM-treated cells was associated with
activation of cell death-associated caspases. BIRM inhibited the
activity of hyaluronidase, a hyaluronic acid-degrading enzyme, at 1
microl/ml. Treatment of MAT LyLu tumor-bearing rats with BIRM by oral
gavage resulted in a significant decrease in tumor incidence (50%),
tumor growth rate (18.6+/-1.3 days for 1 cc tumor growth in control
rats and 25.7+/-2.6 days in BIRM-treated rats), and only one out of six
BIRM-treated rats versus four out of six in the control group developed
lung metastasis. Three active ingredients in BIRM with a relative
molecular mass (Mr) of >or=3500 were identified by
ultracentrifugation and gel filtration chromatography and were found to
be resistant to proteinase and heat (100 degrees C).
CONCLUSION: The
plant extract BIRM contains antitumor compounds of Mr >or=3500 with
potent antiproliferative activity in vitro and in vivo against prostate
cancer cells.