An Evidence-based Perspective of Angelica Sinensis (Chinese Angelica) for Cancer Patients

  • Po-Cheng Lin
  • Tzyy-Wen Chiou
  • Horng-Jyh Harn
Part of the Evidence-based Anticancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine book series (ACAM)


The main compounds in Angelica sinensis (Chinese angelica) acetone extract AS-C are ferulic acid, ligustilide, brefeldin A, butylidenephthalide, as well as polysaccharides. Polysaccharide have been determined their effects on various human cancer cells. Subsequently, the active component of AS-C, butylidenephthalide (BP), has been investigated for its antitumor effects on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumors and colon cancer. In vitro, GBM cells were treated with BP, and the effects on proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis were determined. In vivo, the human GBM tumor, DBTRG-05MG and RG2, the rat GBM tumor, were injected subcutaneously or intracerebrally with BP. BP increased the expression of cyclin kinase inhibitor, including p21 and p27, to decrease the phosphorylation of the Rb proteins, and down-regulated the cell cycle regulators, resulting in cell arrest and apoptosis at the G0/G1 phase. We also examined BP-induced changes in gene expression by microarray screening using human GBM brain tumor cells. Among these genes, Nur77 is particularly interesting because it plays an important role in the apoptotic processes in various tumor cell lines. BP was able to increase Nur77 mRNA and protein expression in a time-dependent manner. After the GBM 8401 cells were treated with BP, Nur77 translocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm while the cytochrome c was released from the mitochondria, and caspase-3 became activated. Since BP has difficulty passing through the blood-brain barrier, we developed a local release system that incorporates BP into a biodegradable polyanhydride material, p(CPP-SA) (BP/Wafer), and investigated its antitumor effects. We used two xenograft animal models, F344 rats (for rat GBM) and nude mice (for human GBM), which were injected with RG2 and DBTRG-05MG cells, respectively, for tumor formation and subsequently treated subcutaneously with BP Wafers. In addition, to study the effect of the interstitial administration of BP against cranial brain tumors, BP/Wafers were surgically placed in FGF-SV40 transgenic mice. Our BP/Wafer significantly reduced tumor size and prolonged survival in a dose-dependent manner.


BCNU Wafer Brain Cancer Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Shinn-Zong Lin (Center for Neuropsychiatry, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung; Department of Neurosurgery, China Medical University Beigan Hospital, Yunlin, Taiwan), Po-Yen Liu (Graduate Institute of Chinese Medical Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan), Yeu-Chern Harn (Graduate Institute of Networking and Multimedia, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan), Li-Fu Chang (Department of Life Science and Graduate Institute of Biotechnology, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan), and Ivy I-Wei Lin (School of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan) for their contributions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Center for NeuropsychiatryChina Medical University and HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Life Science and Graduate Institute of BiotechnologyNational Dong Hwa UniversityShoufengTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of PathologyChina Medical University and HospitalTaiwanRepublic of China

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