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  • Open Access

P01.07. The Chinese herbs Chuan Bei Mu and Huang Qin can produce dose-dependent biphasic response in endometrial cancer cells

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BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineThe official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)201212 (Suppl 1) :P7

  • Published:


  • Cancer Cell
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Chemotherapeutic Agent
  • Preliminary Data
  • Bioactive Compound


We shortlisted four commonly-used herbs from the Chinese Materia Medica, including Lian Qiao (Forsythiae Fructus), Chuan Bei Mu (Fritillariae cirrhosae Bulbus), Bai Zhi (Angelicae dahuricae Radix) and Huang Qin (Scutellariae Radix) due to suggestions in classical writings that they could possess antitumor properties.


We were interested in testing the herbs’ cytotoxic potential and used Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells. Cells were incubated for 24 hours in varying concentrations (1-500 µg/ml).


We found that at low doses Huang Qin induced cytotoxicity (1 µg/ml), but at high doses, 50-300 µg/ml, the same herb induced cell proliferation. Chuan Bei Mu exhibited a similar biphasic response with cytoxicity at 1-200 µg/ml but proliferation at 400 µg/ml. Data on Lian Qiao was scattered but the herb induced cytotoxicity at low doses from 1-10 µg/ml and less significantly at high doses. Bai Zhi was the only herb that did not induce cytotoxicity in endometrial cancer cells.


Taken together, the preliminary data underscore the effect of these herbs as bioactive compounds with chemotherapeutic potential, and contrastingly of their ability to enhance cancer cell growth or confound the effect of chemotherapeutic agents.

Authors’ Affiliations

Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, USA
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, USA


© Ahmad et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.