ASMq is widely used in traditional Uyghur medicine for the treatment of complex diseases such as tumours. Previous studies have indeed found an antiproliferative effect of ASMq both in vitro on HepG2 and CACO cell lines
, and in vivo on methylhydrazine induced colon cancer in rats
. It induces cytotoxicity and apoptosis in vitro[5, 7]. ASMq also appears to have immune-modulating effects
, which may also play a role in its antiproliferative activity in vivo.
In the present study in S180 implanted mice, we confirm the antiproliferative effect of ASMq on the cancer cells. There was an increased spleen index and lymphocyte proliferations. ASMq increased IL-1β, IL-2, TNF-α. IL-1β and IL-2 are important lymphokines in vivo, and can promote the proliferation of T cells, B cells, and macrophages. In the anti-tumour immunity which is predominantly cellular, T cells are the main immune cells that can be cytotoxic directly, or indirectly through the secretion of cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ. Many of the cytokines , such as IFN-γ or IL-2, can activate natural Killer (NK) cells. NK cells in the absence of antibodies can kill tumour cells in vivo. Activation of NK cells induces LAK cells and cytotoxic T cell maturation, etc., which in the anti-tumour immunity play an important role in regulating lymphocyte proliferation. In addition, activated NK cells can release cytokines TNF-α, IL-2, etc., and stimulate macrophages.
Though these effects were for the most part statistically significant, there was no clear dose-effect relationship, with the middle dose of ASMq often more effective than the higher dose. This may be related to increased cytotoxicity with the higher dose. The antitumoral effects of ASMq were not very different from those of Cyclophosphamide on the S180 model,
 though the effects on cytokines were different with a greater effect of ASMq on TNF-α and IL2, but not on T4 or T8 distribution.
According to the Chinese cancer research standard, a Chinese herbal medicine is deemed effective when the tumour inhibitory rate reaches 30% and above. ASMq easily surpassesd that threshold at all tested doses
Beyond the antitumoral drugs derived from plants (such as the vinca minor derivatives or the taxanes) other traditional herbal medicines have shown antiproliferative or cytotoxic effects on the same S180 mouse model, alone
 or combined with cyclophosphamide
, and on other animal tumour models
. Other herbal extracts or traditional medicines have demonstrated immune-modulating effects