Background: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in U.S. men and remains incurable once it has metastasized. Many stages of the metastatic cascade involve cellular interactions mediated by cell surface components, such as carbohydrate-binding proteins, including galactoside-binding lectins (galectins). Modified citrus pectin (pH-modified), a soluble component of plant fiber derived from citrus fruit, has been shown to interfere with cell-cell interactions mediated by cell surface carbohydrate-binding galectin-3 molecules.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine whether modified citrus pectin, a complex polysaccharide rich in galactosyl residues, could inhibit spontaneous metastasis of prostate adenocarcinoma cells in the rat.
Methods: The ability of modified citrus pectin to inhibit the adhesion of Dunning rat prostate cancer MAT-LyLu cells to rat endothelial cells was measured by 51Cr-labeling. Modified citrus pectin inhibition of MAT-LyLu cell anchorage-independent growth was measured by colony formation in agarose. The presence of galectin-3 in rat MAT-LyLu cells and human prostate carcinoma was demonstrated by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. One million MAT-LyLu cells were injected subcutaneously into the hind limb of male Copenhagen rats on day 0. Rats were given 0.0%, 0.01%, 0.1%, or 1.0% (wt/vol) modified citrus pectin continuously in their drinking water (from day 4 until necropsy on day 30). The number of MAT-LyLu tumor colonies in the lungs were counted.
Results: Compared with 15 or 16 control rats that had lung metastases on day 30, seven of 14 rats in the 0.1% and nine of 16 rats in the 1.0% modified citrus-pectin group had statistically significant (two-sided; P < .03 and P < .001, respectively) reductions in lung metastases. The lungs of the 1.0% modified citrus pectin-treated rats had significantly (two-sided; P < .05) fewer metastatic colonies than control groups (9 colonies +/- 4 [mean +/- SE] in the control group compared with 1 colony +/- 1 in the treated group). Modified citrus pectin had no effect on the growth of the primary tumors. In vitro, modified citrus pectin inhibited MAT-LyLu cell adhesion to rat endothelial cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner as well as their colony formation in semisolid medium.
Conclusions: We present a novel therapy in which oral intake of modified citrus pectin acts as a potent inhibitor of spontaneous prostate carcinoma metastasis in the Copenhagen rat.
Implications: Further investigations are warranted to determine the following: 1) the role of galectin-3 in normal and cancerous prostate tissues and 2) the ability of modified citrus pectin to inhibit human prostate metastasis in nude mice.