Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 12415–12425 | Cite as

Baicalin, a component of Scutellaria baicalensis, alleviates anorexia and inhibits skeletal muscle atrophy in experimental cancer cachexia

  • Bin Li
  • Lili Wan
  • Yan Li
  • Qi Yu
  • Pengguo Chen
  • Run Gan
  • Quanjun Yang
  • Yonglong Han
  • Cheng Guo
Research Article


Inflammatory responses are key contributors to cancer cachexia and foster a complex cascade of biological outcomes. Baicalin is a natural compound derived from Scutellaria baicalensis that possesses anti-inflammatory properties in many diseases; therefore, the aim of this study was to verify whether baicalin could ameliorate cachexia in a CT26 adenocarcinoma-induced model. Tumour-bearing and control mice were injected with CT26 adenocarcinoma cells and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), respectively, and baicalin was administered intraperitoneally for 15 days. During the study, food intake, body weight, major organ weight, gastrocnemius muscle weight, tibialis muscle weight, epididymal fat weight and serum cytokine levels were measured and evaluated. Additionally, the expression of two E3 ubiquitin ligases and NF-κB pathway proteins were detected by Western blot. The total food intake in tumour-bearing mice receiving baicalin from days 1–16, as well as the average food intake on days 10–16, were less than normal but were significantly higher than in vehicle-treated tumour-bearing mice. Loss of tumour-free body mass in vehicle-treated tumour-bearing mice was significantly increased compared with control mice and tumour-bearing mice receiving baicalin. Serum cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), were lowered in tumour-bearing mice treated with baicalin. Gastrocnemius muscle, epididymal fat, heart and kidney weight were significantly greater in the baicalin treatment groups compared with the vehicle-treated tumour-bearing mice. In addition, the expression of two E3 ubiquitin ligases, as well as phospho-p65, was significantly downregulated, whereas the expression of IκBα was up-regulated in tumour-bearing mice treated with baicalin, as determined by Western blotting. The present study demonstrates that baicalin effectively ameliorates anorexia by inhibiting cytokine expression and prevents skeletal muscle atrophy most likely by inhibiting activation of NF-κB in an experimental cancer cachexia model, suggesting that baicalin represents a promising natural medicine for treating cancer-induced cachexia.


Baicalin Cachexia Body mass Skeletal muscle atrophy Anorexia 



This study was supported by study project grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81072687) and the Polytechnic Crossing Project, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. All works were completed at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bin Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lili Wan
    • 1
  • Yan Li
    • 1
  • Qi Yu
    • 1
  • Pengguo Chen
    • 1
  • Run Gan
    • 1
    • 3
  • Quanjun Yang
    • 1
  • Yonglong Han
    • 1
  • Cheng Guo
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PharmacyShanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s HospitalShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Integrative OncologyBenxi Central HospitalBenxiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Graduate SchoolShanghai University of Traditional Chinese MedicineShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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