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A systematic review of herbal medicines for the treatment of cancer cachexia in animal models

Park, Bongki, You, Sooseong, Cho, William C. S., Choi, Jun-Yong, Lee, Myeong Soo
Journal of Zhejiang University 2019 v.20 no.1 pp. 9-22
Anemarrhena, Scutellaria baicalensis, active ingredients, alternative medicine, animal models, animals, berberine, cachexia, cortex, curcumin, databases, herbal medicines, hesperidin, meta-analysis, neoplasms, proteasome endopeptidase complex, protein synthesis, rhizomes, systematic review, ubiquitin
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to summarize preclinical studies on herbal medicines used to treat cancer cachexia and its underlying mechanisms. METHODS: We searched four representing databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, the Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, and the Web of Science up to December 2016. Randomized animal studies were included if the effects of any herbal medicine were tested on cancer cachexia. The methodological quality was evaluated by the Collaborative Approach to Meta-Analysis and Review of Animal Data from Experimental Studies (CAMARADE) checklist. RESULTS: A total of fourteen herbal medicines and their compounds were identified, including Coptidis Rhizoma, berberine, Bing De Ling, curcumin, Qing-Shu-Yi-Qi-Tang, Scutellaria baicalensis, Hochuekkito, Rikkunshito, hesperidin, atractylodin, Sipjeondaebo-tang, Sosiho-tang, Anemarrhena Rhizoma, and Phellodendri Cortex. All the herbal medicines, except curcumin, have been shown to ameliorate the symptoms of cancer cachexia through anti-inflammation, regulation of the neuroendocrine pathway, and modulation of the ubiquitin proteasome system or protein synthesis. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that herbal medicines might be a useful approach for treating cancer cachexia. However, more detailed experimental studies on the molecular mechanisms and active compounds are needed.