Background: Noscapine, a non-toxic alkaloid and common constituent of cough medicine, stabilises tubulin. It inhibits the growth of several human and murine neoplasms, with no significant toxicity. Its effect on prostate cancer has not been evaluated.
Materials and methods: Noscapine was administered orally (300 mg/kg per day) for 56 days to PC3 human prostate cancer-bearing immunodeficient mice (n=10). Immunodeficient control mice (n=10) received only diluent in an identical regimen.
Results: Mean total tumour weight was 0.42 +/- 0.23 g and 0.97 +/- 0.31 g (p<0.001) in the noscapine-treated group and the control group, respectively, without evidence of toxicity. Metastases occurred less frequently in the treatment than the control group (30% vs. 90%; p<0.05).
Conclusion: Oral administration of noscapine limited tumour growth and lymphatic metastasis of PC3 human prostate cancer in this mouse model, supporting its therapeutic potential as a nontoxic and easily administered treatment for metastatic cancer.