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Phytother Res. 2007 Nov;21(11):1102-4.

In vitro anticancer activity of aqueous extracts and ethanol extracts of fifteen traditional Chinese medicines on human digestive tumor cell lines.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University and Clinical Cancer Institute of Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210008, P.R. China.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the anticancer activity of 15 traditional Chinese medicines which are usually used for tumor patients in China. The MTT (methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide) method was applied to compare the antitumoral activity of the aqueous crude extracts and the ethanol crude extracts of these drugs on six human digestive tumor cell lines: human liver carcinoma cell lines (HepG-2 and SMMC-7721), human gastric cancer cell line (BGC-823), human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines (LoVo and SW-116) and esophagus adenocarcinoma cell line (CaEs-17). Most ethanol extracts demonstrated a more powerful inhibitory effect than aqueous extracts. Their IC50 values were between 10 microg/mL and 500 microg/mL. Among these drugs, Paris polyphylla Smith showed a predominant inhibitory effect on all the cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 10 microg/mL to 30 microg/mL. The findings in this study suggested that traditional Chinese medicines, especially Paris polyphylla Smith, might have potential anticancer activity on digestive cancer and its mechanism needs further study.

Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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