Effects of herbal preparation Equiguard on hormone-responsive and hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma cells: mechanistic studies

Int J Oncol. 2002 Apr;20(4):681-9.


The Equiguard is a dietary supplement comprised of standardized extracts from nine herbs, respectively, Herba epimedium brevicornum Maxim (stem and leaves), Radix morindae officinalis (root), Fructus rosa laevigatae michx (fruit), Rubus chingii Hu (fruit), Schisandra chinensis (Turz.) Baill (fruit), Ligustrum lucidum Ait (fruit), Cuscuta chinensis Lam (seed), Psoralea corylifolia L. (fruit), and Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge (root). This proprietary product, formulated according to Chinese traditional medicinal concepts, is aimed at restoring harmony in the <primordial (original) ying-yang> of the kidney, an organ which Chinese medicinal principles consider to be vital for invigorating as well as maintaining balance of the entire urological system. As the prostate is an integral component of the urological system, we performed in vitro studies to test the effects of ethanol extracts of Equiguard to modulate prostate growth and gene expression. These studies used prostate cancer cells mimicking the androgen-dependent (AD) and androgen-independent (AI) states of prostate carcinogenesis. Results show that Equiguard significantly reduced cancer cell growth, induced apoptosis, suppressed expression of the androgen receptor (AR) and lowered intracellular and secreted prostate specific antigen (PSA), and almost completely abolished colony forming abilities of prostate cancer cells. These data support the interpretation that this herbal formulation contains ingredients that collectively may be efficacious in preventing or treating AD and AI prostate carcinoma. The anti-prostatic activities of Equiguard may stem from its complex composition capable of targeting multiple signal transduction/metabolic pathways, to effectively correct, counteract or circumvent the impaired or dysfunctional mechanisms accompanying different stages of prostate carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Astragalus propinquus
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / genetics*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / genetics
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen