, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 307–314 | Cite as

A review of the anticancer and immunomodulatory effects of Lycium barbarum fruit

  • Wai-Man Tang
  • Enoch Chan
  • Ching-Yee Kwok
  • Yee-Ki Lee
  • Jian-Hong Wu
  • Chun-Wai Wan
  • Robbie Yat-Kan Chan
  • Peter Hoi-Fu Yu
  • Shun-Wan ChanEmail author


The anticancer effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have attracted the attention of the public vis-à-vis existing cancer therapies with various side effects. Lycium barbarum fruit, commonly known as Gou Qi Zi in China, is a potential anticancer agent/adjuvant. Its major active ingredients, L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), scopoletin and 2-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-l-ascorbic acid (AA-2βG), are found to have apoptotic and antiproliferative effects on cancer cell lines. Moreover, LBP also contributes to body’s immunomodulatory effects and enhances effects of other cancer therapies. It is not known whether there are any undesirable effects. Further studies on its pharmacological mechanisms and toxicology could facilitate a safe usage of this TCM herb.


Anticancer Immunomodulation Lycium barbarum fruit Traditional Chinese medicine Pharmacology Polysaccharides 



This research was financially supported by the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and State Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology, Shenzhen. The authors would like to thank Hoi Tin Tong (Hong Kong, China) for providing the herb and support on this project. Special thanks go to Ms. Josephine Hong-Man Leung for proofreading and providing critical comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wai-Man Tang
    • 1
  • Enoch Chan
    • 1
  • Ching-Yee Kwok
    • 1
  • Yee-Ki Lee
    • 1
  • Jian-Hong Wu
    • 3
  • Chun-Wai Wan
    • 1
  • Robbie Yat-Kan Chan
    • 2
  • Peter Hoi-Fu Yu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Shun-Wan Chan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Food Safety and Technology Research Centre, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical TechnologyThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong SARPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Division of Science and Technology, Programme of Food Science and TechnologyBeijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International CollegeZhuhaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicine and Molecular PharmacologyThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong SARPeople’s Republic of China

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