As a practical and safe herbal medicine, the seeds of Brucea javanica (L.) Merr., were used to cure patients suffering from infectious diseases such as malaria. Recent advances revealed that the herb could also be a useful cancer therapy agent. The study demonstrated that aqueous B. javanica (BJ) extract attenuated the growth of human non-small-lung cancer cells bearing mutant L858R/T790M epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The reduced cell viability in H1975 cells was attributed to apoptosis. Transfection of EGFR small hairpin RNA reverted the sensitivities. When nude mice were fed BJ extract, the growth of xenograft tumors, as established by H1975 cells, was suppressed. Additional histological examination and fluorescence analysis of the resected tissues proved that the induced apoptosis mitigated tumor growth. The work proved that the BJ extract exerted its effectiveness by targeting lung cancer cells carrying mutated EGFR while alleviating tumorigenesis. Aqueous BJ extract is a good candidate to overcome drug resistance in patients undergoing target therapy.
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