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.
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