A common traditional Chinese medicine shows potential in treating oral cancer

Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), also known as red sage, is an important herb in Chinese medicine, used in the treatment of chronic and neoplastic inflammatory diseases. The authors of a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated its effects on oral cancer in both in vitro and in vivo experiments.

  • The researchers cultured human oral cancer SAS, SCC25, OEC-M1, and KB drug-resistant cell lines, which were then exposed to varying concentrations of Danshen extract.
  • In vivo, Danshen extract was tested on an oral cancer xenograft mouse model.
  • The authors used Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining to evaluate the expression of apoptosis-related molecules and the concentration of in vivo apoptotic markers respectively. They also compared the antitumor effects of Danshen extract and those of 5-fluorouracil, an antitumor medication.
  • Analyses revealed that Danshen extract inhibited both cancer cell proliferation and the growth of SAS, SCC25, and OEC-M1 cells. This was established by inducing apoptosis through the caspase pathway. The extract also suppressed the growth of SAS cancer cells in the xenograft model. The extract also circumvented the resistance of KB drug-resistant cell lines.

The researchers took their findings to indicate the potential of Danshen extract as an anti-cancer treatment.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Yang CY, Hsieh CC, Lin C-K, Lin CS, Peng B, Lin GJ, Sytwu HK, Chang WL, Chen YW. DANSHEN EXTRACT CIRCUMVENTS DRUG RESISTANCE AND REPRESSES CELL GROWTH IN HUMAN ORAL CANCER CELLS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(555). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-2063-y

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