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Cancer Cell death Cell cycle Cytoskeleton Exo/endocytosis Differentiation Division Organelles Signalling Stem cells Trafficking
Cell Biology International (2001) 25, 1117–1124 (Printed in Great Britain)
Wolfgang H. Goldmanna,f2, Amita L. Sharmaa, Steve J. Currierb, Paul D. Johnstonb, Ajay Ranac and C. Pal Sharmaa,f1
aBoston BioProducts Inc. Ashland, MA, 01721, U.S.A.
bPharmaPrint Inc. Irvine, CA, 92612, U.S.A.
cMassachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 02114, U.S.A.


The cytotoxicity of a commonly used material to alleviate the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (SPBE), was examined as neat oil using a set of prostatic cell lines; 267B-1, BRFF-41T and LNCaP. Proliferation of these prostatic derived cell lines is inhibited to different degrees when dosed for 3 days with SPBE. The amount of SPBE required to inhibit 50% growth (IC50) of these cell lines was 20–30nl equivalents of SPBE per ml of medium for cell lines 267B-1 and BRFF-41T and approximately 10-fold more for the LNCaP cell line. The effect of SPBE dosing on these cell lines is not irreversible, since a 30min treatment with SPBE at an IC50concentration does not inhibit their growth. Normal prostate cells were inhibited by 20–25% when grown in the presence of 200nl SPBE equivalent per ml media. Growth of other non-prostatic cancer cell lines, i.e. Jurkat and HT-29, was affected by approx. 50% and 40%, respectively. When LNCaP cells were grown in the presence of dihydrotestosterone and SPBE, the IC50concentration decreased significantly compared to LNCaP cells grown in the presence of serum and SPBE. Reduced cellular growth after SPBE treatment of these cell lines may relate to decreased expression of Cox-2 and may be due to changes observed in the expression of Bcl-2. Expression of Cox-1 under similar conditions is not affected because of its constitutive expression. Since increased Cox-2 expression is associated with an increased incidence of prostate cancer, and decrease in its expression by SPBE would provide a basis for further investigation of its use against BPH and in prostatic cancer chemoprevention.

Keywords: Saw Palmetto berry extract, cell growth inhibition, MTT and SRB assays, Cox-2, Cox-1, Bcl-2.

f2Dr Goldmann’s current address: Renal Unit, Massachussetts General Hospital, Room 8200, Building 149, 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, U.S.A.

f1To whom all correspondence should be addressed. C. Pal Sharma, Boston Bioproducts Inc., 200 Homer Ave, Ashland, MA 01721, U.S.A. Tel: +1 508 881 7755; Fax: +1 508 881 7368;


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Received 14 August 2000; accepted 2 April 2001


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)