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Keywords:

  • TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE;
  • HERBAL MIXTURE;
  • GEMCITABINE;
  • ORTHOTOPIC MODEL;
  • NUDE MICE;
  • RED FLUORESCENT PROTEIN;
  • IMAGING ;PANCREATIC CANCER;
  • METASTASIS

ABSTRACT

Pancreatic cancer is highly treatment-resistant and has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers and is the fourth highest cancer killer worldwide. Novel, more effective strategies are needed to treat this disease. We report here on the use of patient-like orthotopic nude-mouse models of human metastatic pancreatic cancer to compare the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal mixture LQ to gemcitabine, which is first-line therapy for this disease, for anti-metastatic and anti-tumor activity as well as safety. The human pancreatic cancer cell line, MiaPaCa-2, labeled with red fluorescent protein (RFP), was used for the orthotopic model. LQ (gavage, 600 mg/kg/day) significantly inhibited pancreatic cancer tumor growth and metastasis, as measured by imaging, with no overt toxicity. Survival of tumor-bearing mice was also prolonged by LQ. The therapeutic efficacy of LQ is comparable with gemcitabine but with less toxicity, as indicated by a lack of body-weight loss with LQ, but not gemcitabine. The results indicate that TCM can have non-toxic efficacy against metastatic pancreatic cancer comparable to gemcitabine in a clinically-relevant orthotopic mouse model. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 2131–2137, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.