Radiotherapy for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma causes severe side effects, including acute hepatitis and chronic fibrosis. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has emerged as an important part of integrative medicine in the management of diseases. Antrodia cinnamomea (AC), a valuable medicinal fungus originally found only in Taiwan, has been shown to possess anti-oxidation, vaso-relaxtation, anti-inflammation, anti-hepatitis, and anti-cancer effects. In this paper we evaluate the protective effects of ethanol extract of Antrodia cinnamomea (ACE) against radiotoxicity both in normal liver cell line CL48 and in tumor-bearing mice. In CL48, ACE protects cells by eliminating irradiation-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) through the induction of Nrf2 and the downstream redox system enzymes. The protective effect of ACE was also demonstrated in tumor-bearing mice by alleviating irradiation-induced acute hepatitis. ACE could also protect mice from CCl 4 -induced hepatitis. Since both radiation and CCl 4 cause free radicals, these results indicate that ACE likely contains active components that protect normal liver cells from free radical attack and can potentially benefit hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients during radiotherapy.
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