The AAPS Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 707–716 | Cite as

Molecular Mechanisms of Silibinin-Mediated Cancer Chemoprevention with Major Emphasis on Prostate Cancer

  • Harold Ting
  • Gagan Deep
  • Rajesh AgarwalEmail author
Review Article Theme: Natural Products Drug Discovery in Cancer Prevention


Despite advances in early detection, prostate cancer remains the second highest cancer mortality in American men, and even successful interventions are associated with enormous health care costs as well as prolonged deleterious effects on quality of patient life. Prostate cancer chemoprevention is one potential avenue to alleviate these burdens. It is a regime whereby long-term treatments are intended to prevent or arrest cancer development, in contrast to more direct intervention upon disease diagnosis. Based on this intention, cancer chemoprevention generally focuses on the use of nontoxic chemical agents which are well-tolerated for prolonged usage that is necessary to address prostate cancer’s multistage and lengthy period of progression. One such nontoxic natural agent is the flavonoid silibinin, derived from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum), which has ancient medicinal usage and potent antioxidant activity. Based on these properties, silibinin has been investigated in a host of cancer models where it exhibits broad-spectrum efficacy against cancer progression both in vitro and in vivo without noticeable toxicity. Specifically in prostate cancer models, silibinin has shown the ability to modulate cell signaling, proliferation, apoptosis, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis, which taken together provides strong support for silibinin as a candidate prostate cancer chemopreventive agent.

Key words

cell cycle chemoprevention prostate cancer signal transduction silibinin 



This work was supported by NCI RO1 grant CA102514.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  2. 2.University of Colorado Cancer CenterUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  3. 3.Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA

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