Chinese Herbal Mixture, Tien-Hsien Liquid, Induces G2/M Cycle Arrest and Radiosensitivity in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells through Mechanisms Involving DNMT1 and Rad51 Downregulation

Chih Jung Yao, Jyh Ming Chow, Chia Ming Yang, Hui Ching Kuo, Chia Lun Chang, Hsin Lun Lee, I. Chun Lai, Shuang En Chuang, Gi Ming Lai

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The Chinese herbal mixture, Tien-Hsien Liquid (THL), has been proven to suppress the growth and invasiveness of cancer cells and is currently regarded as a complementary medicine for the treatment of cancer. Our previous study using acute promyelocytic leukemia cells uncovered its effect on the downregulation of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) which is often overexpressed in cancer cells resulting in the repression of tumor suppressors via hypermethylation. Herein, we explored the effects of THL in MCF-7 breast cancer cells that also demonstrate elevated DNMT1. The results show that THL dose-dependently downregulated DNMT1 accompanied by the induction of tumor suppressors such as p21 and p15. THL arrested cell cycle in G2/M phase and decreased the protein levels of cyclin A, cyclin B1, phospho-pRb, and AKT. DNMT1 inhibition was previously reported to exert a radiosensitizing effect in cancer cells through the repression of DNA repair. We found that THL enhanced radiation-induced clonogenic cell death in MCF-7 cells and decreased the level of DNA double-strand break repair protein, Rad51. Our observations may be the result of DNMT1 downregulation. Due to the fact that DNMT1 inhibition is now a mainstream strategy for anticancer therapy, further clinical trials of THL to confirm its clinical efficacy are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3251046
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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