African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

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The herbal mixture Xiao-Chai-Hu Tang (XCHT) induces apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma huh7 cells in vitro and in vivo

Jinyan Zhao, Liya Liu, Yuchen Zhang, Yun Wan, Zhenfeng Hong


Background: Xiao-Chai-Hu Tang (XCHT) is an extract of seven herbs with anticancer properties, but its mechanism of action is unknown. In this study, we evaluated XCHT-treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) for anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects.

Materials and Methods: Using a hepatic cancer xenograft model, we investigated the in vivo efficacy of XCHT against tumor growth by evaluating tumor volume and weight, as well as measuring apoptosis and cellular proliferation within the tumor. To study the effects of XCHT in vitro, we measured the cell viability of XCHT-treated Huh7 cells, as well as colony formation and apoptosis. To identify a potential mechanism of action, the gene and protein expression levels of Bax, Bcl-2, CDK4 and cyclin-D1 were measured in XCHT-treated Huh7 cells.

Results: We found that XCHT reduced tumor size and weight, as well as significantly decreased cell viability both in vivo and in vitro. XCHT suppressed the expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 in HCC tissues and inhibited Huh7 colony formation. XCHT induced apoptosis in HCC tumor tissues and in Huh7 cells. Finally, XCHT altered the expression of Bax, Bcl-2, CDK4 and cyclin-D1, which halted cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that XCHT enhances expression of pro-apoptotic pathways, resulting in potent anticancer activity.

Keywords: Xiao-Chai-Hu Tang; proliferation; apoptosis; hepatocellular carcinoma

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