Principal Proposed Uses
PC-SPES was, ostensibly, a formulation of eight natural products (seven herbs and one mushroom): Isatis indigotica, Glycyrrhiza glabra ( licorice ), Panax pseudo-ginseng, Ganoderma lucidium ( reishi mushroom ), Scutellaria baicalensis , Dendranthema morifolium, Robdosia rubescens, and Serenoa repens ( saw palmetto ).
The name PC-SPES was derived from the common abbreviation for prostate cancer (PC) and the Latin word spes meaning hope. After its commercial launch in 1996, PC-SPES received considerable interest from the general public and reputable medical researchers as a treatment for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a fraud.
There is little doubt that DES is active against prostate cancer, but it presents a variety of risks, including blood clots in the legs. The other two pharmaceutical contaminants might actually reduce this risk (which may be why they were covertly added), but present various risks all on their own. For these reasons, we strongly recommend against using PC-SPES at all.
What Is PC-SPES Used for Today?
The only proposed use of PC-SPES was the treatment of prostate cancer. The formulation was tried at various stages of the disease, and preliminary research indicated that it had potential, particularly for treating prostate cancer that is no longer responsive to hormone therapies. Benefits were reported in the two main types of prostate cancer: hormone-sensitive and hormone-insensitive cancer. However, when the covert addition of pharmaceuticals was discovered, interest in this "herbal" combination ended.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for PC-SPES?
All the results reported in the following paragraphs are consistent with the known effects of hormones related to estrogen, and may be due to the DES present in PC-SPES, rather than the herbal constituents.
The standard dosage of PC-SPES was 6 to 9 capsules (320 mg each) per day, taken on an empty stomach at least 2 hours before or after meals.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -