The aqueous extract of Chinese medicinal herb Brucea javanica suppresses the growth of human liver cancer and the derived stem-like cells by apoptosis

Jian He Chen, Seung Hun Kim, Po Wei Fan, Chun Yen Liu, Chang Hung Hsieh, Kang Fang

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Being effective and relatively safe, the traditional Chinese medicinal herb Brucea javanica (BJ) has been valuable in curing patients in East Asia and its nearby regions for years. Recent reports suggested that the medicinal herb possesses broad antitumor activity against various cancer cells. This study evaluated whether low concentrations of BJ aqueous extract inhibited the growth of liver cancer cells. Experiments including flow cytometry and Western blot analysis established the development of apoptotic cell death after treatment. Further experiments evaluated the growth of the enriched spheroids. BJ not only reduced the expression of stem cell markers but also eliminated tumor spheroids by apoptotic death. The findings suggest BJ is a promising supplement to the current therapy regimen and highlight the opportunity of BJ as a practical avenue to suppress the growth of the stem cells in liver cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2003-2013
Number of pages11
JournalDrug Design, Development and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 17



  • Apoptosis
  • Brucea javanica
  • Human liver cancer cells
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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