Nan-Chai-Hu, the root of Bupleurum scorzonerifolium, is a traditional Chinese herb used in treatment of liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. We recently reported that the acetone extract of B. scorzonerifolium (BS-AE) could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in A549 human lung cancer cells. We further examined its anti-proliferative mechanisms and in vivo anticancer effect. Our results showed that BS-AE had the ability to cause cell cycle arrest in G2/M phase, inducing tubulin polymerization, and activating caspase-3 and -9 in A549 cells. BS-AE-induced apoptosis could be blocked by the broad caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk in majority. The result of in vivo study showed that BS-AE could suppress growth in A549 subcutaneous xenograft tumors. These results indicate that BS-AE exerts antiproliferative effects on A549 cells in vitro and in vivo, and prompted us to further evaluate and elucidate the chemical composition profile of BS-AE.
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