The use of herbal and over-the-counter dietary supplements for the prevention of prostate cancer

Curr Urol Rep. 2006 May;7(3):166-74. doi: 10.1007/s11934-006-0017-x.


Having a high probability of experiencing prostate cancer during their lifetime, men are increasingly seeking protection against this disease with the use of over-the-counter dietary supplements containing herbs, vitamins, or plant-derived biochemical agents. The use of these agents for prostate cancer prevention is driven by epidemiology supporting the idea that regional diets and consumption of specific dietary components (certain herbs, vitamins, isoflavones, and polyphenols) are associated with a lower risk for prostate cancer, in conjunction with basic research that is defining molecules within food substances that kill or suppress growth of cultured human prostate cancer cells. Moreover, there is a sense that these dietary agents lack side effects, although this assumption often is faulty. Unfortunately, at this time, there is insufficient clinical evidence to support the widespread use of these dietary supplements for chemoprevention of prostate cancer, although ongoing clinical trials of the most promising vitamins and minerals are approaching conclusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use
  • Catechin / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Plant Preparations
  • Carotenoids
  • Catechin
  • Lycopene