Isolation and Structural Characterization of Bioactive Molecules on Prostate Cancer from Mayan Traditional Medicinal Plants

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2018 Aug 14;11(3):78. doi: 10.3390/ph11030078.


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men around the world. It is a complex and heterogeneous disease in which androgens and their receptors play a crucial role in the progression and development. The current treatment for prostate cancer is a combination of surgery, hormone therapy, radiation and chemotherapy. Therapeutic agents commonly used in the clinic include steroidal and non-steroidal anti-androgens, such as cyproterone acetate, bicalutamide and enzalutamide. These few agents have multiple adverse effects and are not 100% effective. Several plant compounds and mixtures, including grape seed polyphenol extracts, lycopene and tomato preparations, soy isoflavones, and green tea extracts, have been shown to be effective against prostate cancer cell growth. In vivo activity of some isolated compounds like capsaicin and curcumin was reported in prostate cancer murine models. We prepared a library of plant extracts from traditional Mayan medicine. These plants were selected for their use in the contemporaneous Mayan communities for the treatment of different diseases. The extracts were assessed in a phenotypic screening using LNCaP prostate cancer androgen sensitive cell line, with a fixed dose of 25 μg/mL. MTT assay identified seven out of ten plants with interesting anti-neoplastic activity. Extracts from these plants were subjected to a bioguided fractionation to study their major components. We identified three compounds with anti-neoplastic effects against LNCaP cells, one of which shows selectivity for neoplastic compared to benign cells.

Keywords: LNCaP; Mayan medicine; in vitro; natural product; plants; prostate cancer.