Research Papers:

Traditional Chinese medicine herbal mixture LQ arrests FUCCI-expressing HeLa cells in G0/G1 phase in 2D plastic, 2.5D Matrigel®, and 3D Gelfoam® culture visualized with FUCCI imaging

Lei Zhang _, Chengyu Wu, Shuya Yano and Robert M. Hoffman

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:5292-5298. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2983

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Lei Zhang1,*, Chengyu Wu2,*, Michael Bouvet3, Shuya Yano1,3,4, Robert M. Hoffman1,3

1AntiCancer, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA

2Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnostics, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China

3Department of Surgery, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

4Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Robert M. Hoffman, e-mail: [email protected]

Chengyu Wu, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: TCM, herbal mixture, LQ, paclitaxel, FUCCI

Received: November 20, 2014     Accepted: December 20, 2014     Published: March 12, 2015


We used the fluorescence ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) to monitor cell cycle arrest after treatment of FUCCI-expressing HeLa cells (FUCCI-HeLa) with a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal mixture LQ, previously shown to have anti-tumor and anti-metastatic activity in mouse models. Paclitaxel was used as the positive control. In 2D monolayer culture, the untreated control had approximately 45% of the cells in S/G2/M phase. In contrast, the LQ-treated cells (9 mg/ml) were mostly in the G0/G1 (>90%) after 72 hours. After treatment with paclitaxel (0.01 μm), for 72 hours, 95% of the cells were in S/G2/M. In 2.5D Matrigel® culture, the colonies in the untreated control group had 40% of the cells in S/G2/M. LQ arrested the cells in G0/G1 after 72 hours. Paclitaxel arrested almost all the cells in S/G2/M after 72 hours. In 3D Gelfoam® culture, the untreated control culture had approximately 45% of cells in G2/M. In contrast, the LQ-treated cells were mostly in G0/G1 phase (>80%) after 72 hours treatment. Paclitaxel resulted in 90% of the cells arrested in S/G2/M after 72 hours. The present report suggests the non-toxic LQ has potential to maintain cancers in a quiescent state for long periods of time.

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