Alocasia cucullata Exhibits Strong Antitumor Effect In Vivo by Activating Antitumor Immunity

Qiuxian Peng, Hongbing Cai, Xuegang Sun, Xin Li, Zhixian Mo*, Jue SHI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese herbal medicines have long been used to treat various illnesses by modulating the human immune response. In this study, we investigate the immuno-modulating effect and antitumor activity of Alocasia Cucullata (AC), a Chinese herb traditionally used to treat infection and cancer. We found that the whole water extract of AC roots could significantly attenuate tumor growth in mouse tumor models. The median survival time of the AC-treated mice was 43 days, 16 days longer than that of the control group. Moreover, the AC-treated mice showed substantially higher induction of key antitumor cytokines, such as IL-2, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, indicating that AC may exert antitumor effect by activating antitumor immunity. To further pinpoint the cellular and molecular mechanism of AC, we studied the dose response of a human monocytic cell line, THP-1, to the whole water extract of AC. Treatment of the AC extract significantly induced THP-1 differentiation into macrophage-like cells and the differentiated THP-1 showed expression of specific macrophage surface markers, such as CD11b and CD14, as well as productions of antitumor cytokines, e.g. IFN-γ and TNF-α. Our data thus point to AC as potentially a new, alternative immuno-modulating herbal remedy for anticancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75328
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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