Ginger phytochemicals exhibit synergy to inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation

Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(2):263-72. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.749925.


Dietary phytochemicals offer nontoxic therapeutic management as well as chemopreventive intervention for slow-growing prostate cancers. However, the limited success of several single-agent clinical trials suggest a paradigm shift that the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are not ascribable to individual phytochemicals, rather may be ascribed to synergistic interactions among them. We recently reported growth-inhibiting and apoptosis-inducing properties of ginger extract (GE) in in vitro and in vivo prostate cancer models. Nevertheless, the nature of interactions among the constituent ginger biophenolics, viz. 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, 10-gingerol, and 6-shogoal, remains elusive. Here we show antiproliferative efficacy of the most-active GE biophenolics as single-agents and in binary combinations, and investigate the nature of their interactions using the Chou-Talalay combination index (CI) method. Our data demonstrate that binary combinations of ginger phytochemicals synergistically inhibit proliferation of PC-3 cells with CI values ranging from 0.03 to 0.88. To appreciate synergy among phytochemicals present in GE, the natural abundance of ginger biophenolics was quantitated using LC-UV/MS. Interestingly, combining GE with its constituents (in particular, 6-gingerol) resulted in significant augmentation of GE's antiproliferative activity. These data generate compelling grounds for further preclinical evaluation of GE alone and in combination with individual ginger biophenols for prostate cancer management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Catechols / chemistry
  • Catechols / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fatty Alcohols / pharmacology
  • Ginger / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Catechols
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • shogaol
  • gingerol
  • 8-gingerol