Prostate Cancer Disparity, Chemoprevention, and Treatment by Specific Medicinal Plants

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 4;11(2):336. doi: 10.3390/nu11020336.


Prostate cancer (PC) is one of the most common cancers in men. The global burden of this disease is rising. Its incidence and mortality rates are higher in African American (AA) men compared to white men and other ethnic groups. The treatment decisions for PC are based exclusively on histological architecture, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and local disease state. Despite advances in screening for and early detection of PC, a large percentage of men continue to be diagnosed with metastatic disease including about 20% of men affected with a high mortality rate within the African American population. As such, this population group may benefit from edible natural products that are safe with a low cost. Hence, the central goal of this article is to highlight PC disparity associated with nutritional factors and highlight chemo-preventive agents from medicinal plants that are more likely to reduce PC. To reach this central goal, we searched the PubMed Central database and the Google Scholar website for relevant papers. Our search results revealed that there are significant improvements in PC statistics among white men and other ethnic groups. However, its mortality rate remains significantly high among AA men. In addition, there are limited studies that have addressed the benefits of medicinal plants as chemo-preventive agents for PC treatment, especially among AA men. This review paper addresses this knowledge gap by discussing PC disparity associated with nutritional factors and highlighting the biomedical significance of three medicinal plants (curcumin, garlic, and Vernonia amygdalina) that show a great potential to prevent/treat PC, as well as to reduce its incidence/prevalence and mortality, improve survival rate, and reduce PC-related health disparity.

Keywords: chemoprevention; health disparity; medicinal plant; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Garlic
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vernonia


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Curcumin