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      Traditional Chinese medicine and cancer: History, present situation, and development


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          Cancer treatment with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a long history. Heritage provides general conditions for the innovation and development of TCM in oncology. This article reviews the development of TCM in oncology, interprets the position and function of TCM for cancer prevention and treatment, summarizes the innovations of TCM in oncology over nearly fifty years, and suggests the development direction.

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          Arsenic trioxide controls the fate of the PML-RARalpha oncoprotein by directly binding PML.

          Arsenic, an ancient drug used in traditional Chinese medicine, has attracted worldwide interest because it shows substantial anticancer activity in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) exerts its therapeutic effect by promoting degradation of an oncogenic protein that drives the growth of APL cells, PML-RARalpha (a fusion protein containing sequences from the PML zinc finger protein and retinoic acid receptor alpha). PML and PML-RARalpha degradation is triggered by their SUMOylation, but the mechanism by which As2O3 induces this posttranslational modification is unclear. Here we show that arsenic binds directly to cysteine residues in zinc fingers located within the RBCC domain of PML-RARalpha and PML. Arsenic binding induces PML oligomerization, which increases its interaction with the small ubiquitin-like protein modifier (SUMO)-conjugating enzyme UBC9, resulting in enhanced SUMOylation and degradation. The identification of PML as a direct target of As2O3 provides new insights into the drug's mechanism of action and its specificity for APL.
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            The four-herb Chinese medicine PHY906 reduces chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal toxicity.

            PHY906, a four-herb Chinese medicine formula first described 1800 years ago, decreases gastrointestinal toxicity induced by the chemotherapeutic drug CPT-11 (irinotecan), as shown in a phase I/II clinical study. Similarly, in a murine colon 38 allograft model, PHY906 increased the antitumor activity of CPT-11 while decreasing animal weight loss caused by CPT-11. Here, we have further examined the effect of PHY906 on the intestinal toxicity caused by CPT-11 in mice. PHY906 did not protect against the initial DNA damage and apoptosis triggered by CPT-11 in the intestine, but by 4 days after CPT-11 treatment, PHY906 had restored the intestinal epithelium by promoting the regeneration of intestinal progenitor or stem cells and several Wnt signaling components. PHY906 also potentiated Wnt3a activity in human embryonic kidney-293 cells. Furthermore, PHY906 exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in mice by decreasing the infiltration of neutrophils or macrophages, tumor necrosis factor-alpha expression in the intestine, and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in plasma. Chemical constituents of PHY906 potently inhibited nuclear factor kappaB, cyclooxygenase-2, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Our results show that the herbal medicine PHY906 can counteract the toxicity of CPT-11 via several mechanisms that act simultaneously.
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              Molecular networks for the study of TCM pharmacology.

              To target complex, multi-factorial diseases more effectively, there has been an emerging trend of multi-target drug development based on network biology, as well as an increasing interest in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that applies a more holistic treatment to diseases. Thousands of years' clinic practices in TCM have accumulated a considerable number of formulae that exhibit reliable in vivo efficacy and safety. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for their therapeutic effectiveness are still unclear. The development of network-based systems biology has provided considerable support for the understanding of the holistic, complementary and synergic essence of TCM in the context of molecular networks. This review introduces available sources and methods that could be utilized for the network-based study of TCM pharmacology, proposes a workflow for network-based TCM pharmacology study, and presents two case studies on applying these sources and methods to understand the mode of action of TCM recipes.

                Author and article information

                Thorac Cancer
                Thorac Cancer
                Thoracic Cancer
                John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Chichester, UK )
                September 2015
                16 June 2015
                : 6
                : 5
                : 561-569
                [1 ]Department of Oncology, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences Beijing, China
                [2 ]Clinical Medicine College (Guang’anmen Hospital), Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Beijing, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence, Hong-sheng Lin, Department of Oncology, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China., Tel: +86 10 88001500, Fax: +86 10 88001340, Email: drlinhongsheng@ 123456163.com

                Jie Liu and Shuo Wang are co-first authors.

                © 2015 The Authors. Thoracic Cancer published by China Lung Oncology Group and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

                : 24 October 2014
                : 02 April 2015
                Invited Review

                cancer,development,history,present situation,traditional chinese medicine


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