Background: Noscapine has demonstrated potent antitumour activity and minimum toxicity in cancer models. Recently, noscapine has been shown to limit tumour growth and lymphatic metastasis of PC3 human prostate cancer mice. The prophylactic effects of noscapine are not known.
Materials and methods: Nude mice received oral noscapine (300 mg/kg per day; 'treatment'; n=10) or diluent ('control'; n=10) for 56 days, beginning 7 days after inoculation with PC3 human prostate cancer cells; or noscapine for 70 days, beginning 7 days before inoculation ('pretreatment'; n=10).
Results: Mean total tumour volumes were 1731.6+/-602.0 mm(3) in the control group, 644.3+/-545.1 mm(3) in the noscapine pretreatment group and 910.9+/-501.1 mm(3) in the noscapine treatment group (p<0.001 pretreatment vs. control, p<0.05 pretreatment vs. control, p<0.001 pretreatment vs. treatment group), with no evidence of toxicity. Noscapine pretreatment and treatment also reduced tumour weight, the incidence of metastasis and primary tumour inhibition rate.
Conclusion: Pretreatment with oral noscapine limited tumour growth and lymphatic metastasis of PC3 human prostate cancer in this mouse model and conferred a significant additional benefit over noscapine treatment in final tumour volume.