Myristoleic acid, a cytotoxic component in the extract from Serenoa repens, induces apoptosis and necrosis in human prostatic LNCaP cells

Prostate. 2001 Apr;47(1):59-65. doi: 10.1002/pros.1047.


Background: Prostatic tumors are well known to progress to hormonal therapy-resistant terminal states. At this stage, there are no chemotherapeutic agents to affect clinical outcome. An effective cell death inducer for these prostate cells may be a candidate as an attractive antitumor agent. The extracts from S. repens have been used to improve the state of prostatic diseases and we have attempted to identify the effective component from the extract.

Methods: Cell viability was examined in LNCaP cells, an in vitro model for hormonal therapy-resistant prostatic tumor.

Results: We found that exposure of the extract from S. repens resulted in cell death of LNCaP cells. We also identified myristoleic acid as one of the cytotoxic components in the extract. The cell death exhibited both apoptotic and necrotic nuclear morphology as determined by Hoechst 33342 staining. Cell death was also partially associated with caspase activation.

Conclusions: It was demonstrated that the extract from S. repens and myristoleic acid induces mixed cell death of apoptosis and necrosis in LNCaP cells. These results suggest that the extract and myristoleic acid may develop attractive new tools for the treatment of prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones / pharmacology
  • Androgen Antagonists / toxicity*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Necrosis
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms*
  • Serenoa
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / enzymology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology


  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones
  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Plant Extracts
  • benzyloxycarbonylvalyl-alanyl-aspartyl fluoromethyl ketone
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases
  • saw palmetto extract
  • 9-tetradecenoic acid