Botanical formula suppresses liver cancer tumour growth: Taiwan mouse study

By Millette Burgos contact

- Last updated on GMT

TCM herbs explored for anti-cancer properties.©iStock
TCM herbs explored for anti-cancer properties.©iStock

Related tags: Cancer

Zuo-Jin-Wan, a two-herb formula consisting of Coptis chinensis and Evodia rutaecarpa, helped suppress human cancer cell growth implanted in the livers of mice, a new Taiwan study showed.

Commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for cancer treatments, Zuo-Jin-Wan (ZJW) when combined two other plant-based compounds – Berberine and Evodiamine – proved effective against a HepG2 human liver cancer line implanted in mice, wrote researchers from China Medical University in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine​.

“Our findings suggested for the first time that ZJW significantly suppressed human cancer cell growth in orthotopic HepG2 xenograft-bearing immunocompetent mice." ​they said.

A total of 36 mice, divided into two groups (control and ZJW) were implanted with HepG2 containing luciferase genes. Luciferase is an oxidative enzyme used to detect for bioluminescent signals. Three days after tumour cell implantation, the mice were subjected to image scans.

“Immunostaining with anti-luciferase antibody confirmed that HepG2/NF-κB/Luc cells had been transplanted successfully in livers,”​ the researchers said.

The ZJW group then received alternating dosage of 200mg of ZJW solution and phosphate buffered saline (PBS), a water-based salt solution that is is non-toxic to most cells for seven, 14 and 28 days.

“At intervals of seven, 14 or 28-days after daily treatment with ZJW or PBS, mice were sacrificed to examine the therapeutic effects of ZJW,”​ the study said.

They found that tumour-to-liver ratios were decreased in ZJW treatment group at seven days after treatment.

Oral administration

While the control group showed tumour mass and infiltration of inflammatory cells in the livers, those from the ZJW mice livers had several hollows inside the tumour, and the inflammatory cells were located at the margin of tumour mass.

Also, “the number of luciferase-positive cells was decreased in ZJW treatment group, compared to control group,” the ​study revealed.

“These findings suggested that oral administration of ZJW exhibited anti-cancer effects by decreasing the weight of tumour mass and the accumulation of ascites in an orthotopic intrahepatic xenograft model.”

Researchers added that while the ZJW combination showed obvious ‘anti-hepatoma’ effects on the tumour-implanted mice livers, more clinical trials involving ZJW are needed to explore the TCM drugs’ potential therapeutic effects on liver cancer.

Source: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

DOI 10.1186/s12906-017-1586-6

“Exploration of anti-cancer effects and mechanisms of Zuo-Jin-Wan and its alkaloid components in vitro and in orthotopic HepG2 xenograft immunocompetent mice”

Authors: Shun-Ting Chou, Chien-Yun Hsiang, et al.

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