New drugs for prostate Introduction

Cooperative expert: Javier Angulo, PhD

Research institutions: Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal


Belonging to the Zygophyllaceae family, Nitraria tangutorun Bobr (NtB) grows in desert and semidesert regions of Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Its strong resistance to drought and salinity makes it an ideal plant for preventing soil desertification . In addition to a remarkable ecological value its edible berries have been traditionally used as healthy food and folk medicine to treat abnormal menstruation, heart disease, neurasthenia, and dyspepsia in the Northwest of China . N. tangutorum fruits contain anthocyanins that possess substantial antioxidant activity . In fact, extracts of N. tangutorum fruits enriched of anthocyanins display antioxidant activity in vitro and in vivo.


In conclusion, NtB shows potential capacity to improve BPH related pathophysiology by acting on its static and dynamic components. This would include its ability to inhibit proliferation of hyperproliferating human prostate cells without interfering with androgenic activities and to favor relaxation of prostate and bladder neck leading to modulate prostate size and proliferation and to improve urodynamic parameters in rats with BPH. These beneficial effects could be augmented by combining NtB with a compound with anti-androgenic effects such as lycopene. Stimulation of NO/cGMP pathway by NtB seems to account for the relaxation effects on prostate and bladder neck from BPH patients, a characteristic that results in enhancement of the relaxant activity of PDE5 inhibition in these tissues.

N. tangutorum Bobr extract (NtB) inhibits proliferation of androgen-resistant and androgen-sensitive human prostate cancer cells

Figure shows the effects of NtB (1 to 30 mg/ml), lycopene (0.1 and 0.25 mg/ml) or the vehicle (0.3% DMSO) on proliferation of androgen-resistant, PC-3 (A-C), and androgen-sensitive, LNCaP (D-F), human prostate cancer cells, either under unstimulated conditions (A, D) or after stimulation with the androgens testosterone (T, 40 nM) (B, E) or dihydrotestosterone (DHT, 40 nM) (C, F). Data are expressed as mean±SEM of the percentage of absorbance at 490 nm obtained by XTT assay in control cultures (C). Data were obtained from, at least, four different cultures for each condition. * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001 vs. C and † p < 0.05, †† p < 0.01, ††† p < 0.001 vs. T or DHT by one-factor ANOVA followed by Student-Newmann-Keuls test.