Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world, but current therapies are only marginally effective. But now, according to new research with mice, a compound derived from the leaves of the neem plant could significantly suppress it’s development.
The study found that oral administration of nimbolide could suppress cell invasion and migration of prostate cancer cells without any significant adverse effects. Over a period of 12 weeks, tumor size was reduced by up to 70 percent and its metastasis, or spread, by up to 50 percent.
The nimbolide works by targeting glutathione reductase, an enzyme responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body. This then inhibits STAT3 activation, which has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis.
“In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability—a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide, or repair damaged cell components—and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells,” says study leader Gautam Sethi, an associate professor in the pharmacology department at NUS Medicine.
Although the anticancer effects of nimbolide have been observed in breast, colon, and oral cancer studies, this is the first time its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have been shown.