Background: α-Pinene is one of the most widely found terpenoids in nature. Substantial evidence shows that α-pinene has cancer prevention properties. In this study, the PC-3 cell line was used to establish subcutaneous xenograft tumors in nude mice. Methods: Cytotoxicity was measured with the MTT assay, and apoptosis and cell cycle analyses were conducted using flow cytometry in vitro. The PC-3 cell line was used to establish subcutaneous xenograft tumors in nude mice. Results: We found that treatment with α-pinene significantly inhibited human prostate cancer cell growth and induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in the cell line-based model. Furthermore, tumor progression was inhibited more in mice treated with α-pinene than in control mice. We detected less Ki67 and proliferation cell nuclear antigen in paraffin sections from xenograft tumor specimens taken from α-pinene-treated mice than in those from the control group. Meanwhile, α-pinene treatment induced apoptosis in xenograft tumors as determined by the TUNEL assay. Conclusions: These data strongly suggest that α-pinene inhibits prostate cancer growth in a xenograft model and may be an effective therapeutic agent for prostate cancer treatment.

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