Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A new dawn for the use of traditional Chinese medicine in cancer therapy

By Harendra S Parekh, Gang Liu and Ming Q Wei


Although traditional Chinese medicine has benefitted one fifth of the world's population in treating a plethora of diseases, its acceptance as a real therapeutic option by the West is only now emerging. In light of a new wave of recognition being given to traditional Chinese medicine by health professionals and regulatory bodies in the West, an understanding of their molecular basis and highlighting potential future applications of a proven group of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of a variety of cancers is crucial – this is where their calling holds much hope and promise in both animal and human trials. Furthermore, the rationale for combining conventional agents and modern biotechnological approaches to the delivery of traditional Chinese medicine is an avenue set to revolutionize the future practice of cancer medicine – and this may well bring on a new dawn of therapeutic strategies where East truly meets West

Topics: Review
Publisher: BioMed Central
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

Suggested articles


  1. (2004). A Multi-Functional Chemopreventive Agent, Blocks Growth of Colon Cancer Cells by Targeting β-Catenin-Mediated Transactivation and Cell-Cell Adhesion Pathways. J Mol Histol
  2. (2006). A TRAIL to Chinese herbal medicine. Blood
  3. (2007). A: Artesunate inhibits angiogenesis and downregulates vascular endothelial growth factor expression in chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells. Vascul Pharmacol
  4. (1999). Activation of caspase 3 in HL-60 cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide. Biochem Biophys Res Commun
  5. (1999). Activators and target genes of Rel/NF-kappa B transcription factors. Oncogene
  6. (2002). Activity of drugs from traditional Chinese medicine toward sensitive and MDR1- or MRP1-overexpressing multidrugresistant human CCRF-CEM leukemia cells. Blood Cells Molecules and Diseases
  7. (2001). AE: Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Prostate
  8. (1994). Aggarwal BB: Curcumin is a noncompetitive and selective inhibitor of phosphorylase-kinase.
  9. (2002). Aggarwal BB: Nuclear factor-kappa B activation: A question of life or death.
  10. (1999). An KS: Tanshinone IIA, an ingredient of Salvia miltiorrhiza bunge, induces apoptosis in human leukemia cell lines through the activation of caspase-3. Exp Mol Med
  11. (2006). Andreeff M: Triptolide induces caspase-dependent cell death mediated via the mitochondrial pathway in leukemic cells. Blood
  12. (2004). apoptosis, and nonimmune surveillance. Cell Death Differ
  13. (2000). Ashkenazi A: Apo2L/TRAIL-dependent recruitment of endogenous FADD and caspase-8 to death receptors 4 and 5. Immunity
  14. (2000). Baeuerle PA: Recent advances towards understanding redox mechanisms in the activation of nuclear factor kb. Free Radical Biology & Medicine
  15. (2001). Bando H: Vascular endothelial growth factor: its prognostic, predictive, and therapeutic implications. Lancet Oncol
  16. (2006). C-T: Stellettin A Induces Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis
  17. (2001). Caspase-3-mediated cleavage of ROCK I induces MLC phosphorylation and apoptotic membrane blebbing. Nat Cell Biol
  18. (1999). CB: The central effectors of cell death in the immune system. Annu Rev Immunol
  19. (1998). Chung B-S: Suppression of multidrug resistance via inhibition of heat shock factor by quercetin in MDR cells. Exp Mol Med
  20. CT: Targeting inflammation using Asian herbs.
  21. (2005). Curcumin enhances Vinorelbine mediated apoptosis in NSCLC cells by the mitochondrial pathway. Biochem Biophys Res Commun
  22. (2002). Curcumin exerts multiple suppressive effects on human breast carcinoma cells.
  23. (2007). D-G: Chemotherapy through mitochondrial apoptosis using nutritional supplements and herbs: A brief overview.
  24. (2003). Direct inhibitory effect of curcumin on Src and focal adhesion kinase activity. Biochem Pharmacol
  25. (1999). DR: Apoptosis: checkpoint at the mitochondrial frontier.
  26. (2005). E: Curcumin: a new radio-sensitizer of squamous cell carcinoma cells. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg
  27. (1971). E: Tumor angiogenesis – therapeutic implications.
  28. (1998). Effect of berbamine derivative (EBB) on anticancer and immune function of tumor-bearing mice. Chinese Herbal Journal
  29. (1999). Effect of compound 6F isolated from Pteris semipinnata on cell cycle and synthesis of DNA, RNA and protein of lung adenocarcinoma cell. Chinese Pharmacology
  30. (1998). Effects of elemene combined with chemotherapy drugs on the growth of cancer cells. Cancer Prevention and Control Research
  31. (2005). Essential properties of drug-targeting delivery systems. Drug Discov Today
  32. (2002). Evan GI: A matter of life and death. Cancer Cell
  33. (2007). Fan S-T: Traditional Chinese herbal medicines for treatment of liver fibrosis and cancer: from laboratory discovery to clinical evaluation. Liver Int
  34. (1994). Function and activation of NF-kappa B in the immune system. Annu Rev Immunol
  35. (1999). GD: PG490 (triptolide) cooperates with tumor necrosis factor-alpha to induce apoptosis in tumor cells.
  36. (2001). GD: Triptolide and chemotherapy cooperate in tumor cell apoptosis – A role for the p53 pathway.
  37. (2000). H: FADD/MORT1 and caspase-8 are recruited to TRAIL receptors 1 and 2 and are essential for apoptosis mediated by TRAIL receptor 2. Immunity
  38. (2002). HJ: Microarray-based analysis of anti-angiogenic activity of demethoxycurcumin on human umbilical vein endothelial cells: Crucial involvement of the down-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase.
  39. (1996). HL: Reactive oxygen intermediates as second messengers of a general pathogen response. Pathologie Biologie
  40. (2002). Honn KV: Mechanisms controlling cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis after 12-lipoxygenase inhibition in prostate cancer cells. Cancer Res
  41. (2003). HP: Effects of wogonin, a plant flavone from Scutellaria radix, on skin inflammation: in vivo regulation of inflammation-associated gene expression. Biochem Pharmacol
  42. (1998). HR: Curcumin is an in vivo inhibitor of angiogenesis. Molecular Medicine
  43. (2000). Huang HJS: Increased death receptor 5 expression by chemotherapeutic agents in human gliomas causes synergistic cytotoxicity with tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Res
  44. (2000). Huang Y: Induction of apoptosis in prostate cancer cell lines by a flavonoid, baicalin. Cancer Lett
  45. (2002). Hydrazinocurcumin, a novel synthetic curcumin derivative, is a potent inhibitor of endothelial cell proliferation. Bioorg Med Chem
  46. (2004). Immunomodulatory and antimicrobial effects of some traditional Chinese medicinal herbs: A review. Curr Med Chem
  47. (2003). Inhibition of human cancer cell line growth and human umbilical vein endothelial cell angiogenesis by artemisinin derivatives in vitro. Pharmacol Res
  48. (2006). J-G: Anticancer effects of Chinese herbal medicine, science or myth?
  49. (2000). JM: The flavonoid baicalin exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by binding to chemokines. Immunopharmacology
  50. (2000). Krammer PH: The CD95 (APO-1/Fas) and the TRAIL (APO-2L) apoptosis systems. Exp Cell Res
  51. (2002). Krishnankutty K: Anti-tumour studies of metal chelates of synthetic curcuminoids.
  52. (1999). Lipkowitz S: Chemotherapy augments TRAIL-induced apoptosis in breast cell lines. Cancer Res
  53. (2002). LK: Baicalein and genistein display differential actions on estrogen receptor (ER) transactivation and apoptosis in MCF-7 cells. Cancer Lett
  54. (1997). Mechanisms of angiogenesis.
  55. (2005). Ming Y-W: Molecular mechanism of Chinese anti-tumor herbal medicine.
  56. (1996). Mitochondria and programmed cell death: Back to the future. FEBS Lett
  57. (2003). Molecular modes of action of artesunate in tumor cell lines. Mol Pharmacol
  58. (1995). PA: Hypoxic induction of vascular endothelial growth-factor (VEGF) in human epithelial-cells is mediated by increases in messenger-RNA stability.
  59. (2002). PH: Death and anti-death: Tumour resistance to apoptosis. Nature Reviews Cancer
  60. (2000). PH: Regulation of death receptor-mediated apoptosis pathways.
  61. (1999). Progress in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Anticancer Drugs
  62. (2003). RA: PG490-mediated sensitization of lung cancer cells to Apo2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis requires activation of ERK2. Oncogene
  63. (2006). Randomised and non-randomised prospective controlled cohort studies in matchedpair design for the long-term therapy of breast cancer patients with a mistletoe preparation (Iscador): A re-analysis.
  64. (2004). Randomized controlled trial of a traditional preparation of Artemisia annua L. (Annual Wormwood) in the treatment of malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg
  65. (2000). Rehemtulla A: Combined effect of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and ionizing radiation in breast cancer therapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
  66. (2003). Rhee D-K: Reversal of P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance by ginsenoside Rg3. Biochem Pharmacol
  67. (2007). RM: A medicinal extract of Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu acts as a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase to reduce inflammation. J Med Food
  68. (2003). Ryu D-G: Induction of apoptosis by takrisodokyeum through generation of hydrogen peroxide and activation of caspase-3 in HL-60 cells. Life Sci
  69. (2006). Ryu DG: Induction of apoptosis by Radix Paeoniae alba extract through cytochrome c release and the activations of caspase-9 and caspase-3 in HL-60 cells. Biol Pharm Bull
  70. (2007). S: Nanotechnology for targeted cancer therapy. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther
  71. (2006). Sagar SM: Targeting angiogenesis with integrative cancer therapies. Integr Cancer Ther
  72. (2002). Salimath BP: Molecular mechanisms of anti-angiogenic effect of curcumin.
  73. (2006). Seo D-W: Matrix metalloproteinases in tumor progression.
  74. (2003). SmithMcCune K: Aqueous extract of herb Scutellaria barbatae, a Chinese herb used for ovarian cancer, induces apoptosis of ovarian cancer cell lines. Gynecol Oncol
  75. (2000). Sun X-M: Mechanism of drug resistance and reversal with ligustrazine and cyclosporin A in cisplatin-induced human epithelial ovarian cancer resistant cell line 3Ao/cDDP.
  76. (1999). Sung HJ: Tanshinone IIA isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza bunge induced apoptosis in HL60 human premyelocytic leukemia cell line.
  77. (2006). T: Induction of apoptosis by Cordyceps militaris through activation of caspase-3 in leukemia HL-60 cells. Biol Pharm Bull
  78. (1999). Taiwan: time to end the exile. Lancet
  79. (2007). The advance of dendrimers – a versatile targeting platform for gene/drug delivery. Curr Pharm Des
  80. (2007). The chemopreventive polyphenol Curcumin prevents hematogenous breast cancer metastases in immunodeficient mice. Cell Physiol Biochem
  81. (2006). Tian J-H: Correlative factors for cancer response evaluation treated by TCM.
  82. (1999). Tsujimoto Y: Acinus is a caspase-3-activated protein required for apoptotic chromatin condensation. Nature
  83. (1972). Tumor inhibitors .74. triptolide and tripdiolide, novel antileukemic diterpenoid triepoxides from tripterygium-wilfordii.
  84. (1999). Tumoricidal activity of tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis-inducing ligand in vivo. Nat Med
  85. (2003). Unconventional therapy for prostate cancer: Good, bad or questionable? Nature Reviews Cancer
  86. (2001). Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: Prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study. Altern Ther Health Med
  87. (2004). XE: Inhibitory effects of artesunate on angiogenesis and on expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor and VEGF receptor KDR/flk-1. Pharmacology
  88. (2001). Yang J-Y: Development of Clinical Applications for Anti-tumor Botanicals and Semi-Synthetic Medicine.
  89. (2004). Yang P-C: Anti-invasive gene expression profile of curcumin in lung adenocarcinoma based on a high throughput microarray analysis. Mol Pharmacol
  90. (2001). Yu AE: Proteases in invasion: matrix metalloproteinases. Semin Cancer Biol
  91. (2002). Zhang DY: Anticancer activity of Scutellaria baicalensis and its potential mechanism.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.