Cancer cachexia is characterised by the loss of body mass and directly compromises immune response and the quality of life of cancer patients. In the present study, we set out to investigate the role of Chinese herbs as anticancer medicines and/or chemotherapeutic adjuvants to increase therapeutic efficacy and/or ameliorate given side-effects in animal model.
Twelve kinds of herbs were chosen from the ingredients of major Chinese herbal medicines, and their effects on the antioxidant activity were investigated. To obtain the anticancer effects of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) when consumed with minimal side-effects, Wang et al., (2012) investigated the combination effect of Scutellaria baicalensis (huang qin) and Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang that may enhance the anticancer activity of 5-FU on subcutaneous tumour growth.
Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang, a multiple-component herbal extract, was shown to have high anti-oxidation activity, while S. baicalensis (Chinese skullcap) was demonstrated to have high tumour-growth inhibition activity. Thus, S. baicalensis and Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang were evaluated for their combinaton effects on the cancer-induced cachectic murine upon receiving 5-FU chemotherapy. As a result, tumour masses and losses of carcass and/or gastrocnemius muscle were found to be significantly decreased. This combination otherwise increased both Th1/Th2 ratio and NK cytotoxicity. In the mice receiving with or without 5-FU, the serum levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) increased by all means but otherwise decreased when the herbal combination was administrated. Additionally, the expressions of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and muscle RING finger protein-1 (MuRF-1) decreased in the gastrocnemius muscle when the herbal combination was applied.
Results revealed that the combination of S. baicalensis and Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang is able to ameliorate cachectic symptoms and positively stimulate anti-tumour immunity while undergoing chemotherapy in animal model.
Wang H, Chan YL, Li TL, Wu CJ. Improving cachectic symptoms and immune strength of tumour-bearing mice in chemotherapy by a combination of Scutellaria baicalensis and Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang. Eur J Cancer. 2012 May;48(7):1074-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.06.048.
Qing Shu Yi Qi Tang Formula
Rx. Panacis Quinquefolii Xi Yang Shen
Exocarpium Citrulli Xi Gua Pi
Fol. Nelumbinis He Ye
Rx. Ophiopogonis Mai Men Dong
Hb. Lophatheri Dan Zhu Ye
Rz. Anemarrhenae Zhi Mu
Rz. Coptidis Huang Lian
Rx. Glycyrrhizae Gan Cao
Non-glutinous Rice Geng Mi