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Comparison of efficacy and toxicity of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal mixture LQ and conventional chemotherapy on lung cancer metastasis and survival in mouse models.

PloS one (2014-10-07)
Lei Zhang, Chengyu Wu, Yong Zhang, Fang Liu, Xiaoen Wang, Ming Zhao, Robert M Hoffman
ABSTRACT

Unlike Western medicine that generally uses purified compounds and aims to target a single molecule or pathway, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compositions usually comprise multiple herbs and components that are necessary for efficacy. Despite the very long-time and wide-spread use of TCM, there are very few direct comparisons of TCM and standard cytotoxic chemotherapy. In the present report, we compared the efficacy of the TCM herbal mixture LQ against lung cancer in mouse models with doxorubicin (DOX) and cyclophosphamide (CTX). LQ inhibited tumor size and weight measured directly as well as by fluorescent-protein imaging in subcutaneous, orthotopic, spontaneous experimental metastasis and angiogenesis mouse models of lung cancer. LQ was efficacious against primary and metastatic lung cancer without weight loss and organ toxicity. In contrast, CTX and DOX, although efficacious in the lung cancer models caused significant weight loss, and organ toxicity. LQ also had anti-angiogenic activity as observed in lung tumors growing in nestin-driven green fluorescent protein (ND-GFP) transgenic nude mice, which selectively express GFP in nascent blood vessels. Survival of tumor-bearing mice was also prolonged by LQ, comparable to DOX. In vitro, lung cancer cells were killed by LQ as observed by time-lapse imaging, comparable to cisplatinum. LQ was more potent to induce cell death on cancer cell lines than normal cell lines unlike cytotoxic chemotherapy. The results indicate that LQ has non-toxic efficacy against metastatic lung cancer.

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