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How does Fu-Zheng-Jie-Du-Decoction act on PTEN expression in hepatocellular carcinoma?

Many hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients in China may be treated with Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Some say it works, others doubt its effectiveness. These stated that a research group in China had found TCM can down-regulate the expression of PTEN in HCC, which may suppress tumor cell growth and regulate tumor cell invasion and metastasis.

A research article published on January 7, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (volume 14, issue 1) addresses this problem. The research group imbedded hepatoma carcinoma tissue in the livers of 48 male athymic mice. The mice were distributed randomly into two groups: The chemotherapy group was treated by intragastric administration with FT207 (Tegafur). The TCM group was treated by intragastric administration with FZJDT (complex prescription of Chinese crude drug) that had been deliquated into 3 kinds of density as the low, middle, and high.

Four weeks later, the researchers found the TCM group had distinct superiority in their survival rate compared with the chemotherapy group. There was less tumor metastasis in the livers of the TCM group than in the chemotherapy group. Particularly the results of immunohistochemistry showed the intensity of PTEN (Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog deleted on Chromosome 10) in the TCM group was higher than in the chemotherapy group.

PTEN was recently identified as a tumor suppressor gene by three American research teams. They found PTEN may suppress tumor cell growth and regulate tumor cell invasion and metastasis through inhibiting many signal pathways of cell proliferation.

FZJDT has been widely used to treat HCC for years in The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University. Just what is the mechanism of the Chinese herbs that strengthens the body's resistance and removes toxic substances? Our research showed TCM could markedly increase expression of PTEN in the athymic mice, compared with the chemotherapy group treated with FT207, indicating the anticancer mechanism of the TCM used in this study.

Mechanisms of TCM healing HCC may partially be explained by the enhancing of the expression of PTEN in the liver. The results of this study suggest a promising future for TCM as a combined therapy to treat HCC in China .


Contact: Jing Zhu
World Journal of Gastroenterology

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