Background: Increasing evidence suggests that the inability to undergo apoptosis is an important factor in the development and progression of prostate cancer. Agents that induce apoptosis may inhibit tumor growth and provide therapeutic benefit. In a recent study, the authors found that certain homeopathic treatments produced anticancer effects in an animal model. In this study, the authors examined the immunomodulating and apoptotic effects of these remedies.
Materials and methods: The authors investigated the effect of a homeopathic treatment regimen containing Conium maculatum, Sabal serrulata, Thuja occidentalis, and a MAT-LyLu Carcinosin nosode on the expression of cytokines and genes that regulate apoptosis. This was assessed in prostate cancer tissues, extracted from animals responsive to these drugs, using ribonuclease protection assay or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Results: There were no significant changes in mRNA levels of the apoptotic genes bax, bcl-2, bcl-x, caspase-1, caspase-2, caspase-3, Fas, FasL, or the cytokines interleukin (IL)-1alpha, IL-1beta, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-beta, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-alpha, IL-2, and interferon-gamma in prostate tumor and lung metastasis after treatment with homeopathic medicines.
Conclusions: This study indicates that treatment with the highly diluted homeopathic remedies does not alter the gene expression in primary prostate tumors or in lung metastasis. The therapeutic effect of homeopathic treatments observed in the in vivo experiments cannot be explained by mechanisms based on distinct alterations in gene expression related to apoptosis or cytokines. Future research should explore subtle modulations in the expression of multiple genes in different biological pathways.