Article Abstract

Huaier extract exerts immunomodulatory effects by regulating serum cytokines in breast cancer

Authors: Li Zhang, Ning Zhang, Xinyu Qu, Yaming Li, Qifeng Yang


Background: Huaier extract, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with a 1,600-year history, has recently become a complementary anticancer drug in China. Previous studies have demonstrated that Huaier extract has multiple anticancer effects. However, whether Huaier extract has immunomodulatory effects on serum cytokine profiles in breast cancer patients remains unknown.
Methods: Thirty-eight serum specimens were collected from 19 female breast cancer patients who were treated with Huaier extract before surgery in Qilu Hospital, and serum cytokines were analyzed by Bio-Plex ProTM cytokine assays. Murine breast cancer model was built to further verify the immunomodulatory effects of Huaier extract, and serum cytokine levels were detected by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assay and pulmonary metastasis were counted.
Results: In this study, we found that Huaier extract significantly decreased the MCP-1, MIP-1β levels (P<0.05), and significantly increased the IL-7 levels (P<0.05) in breast cancer patients and a murine breast cancer model (P<0.05). Additionally, Huaier extract inhibited pulmonary metastasis in a murine model of breast cancer.
Conclusions: The results of this study showed that Huaier extract regulated serum cytokines levels and decreased the number of metastatic lung nodules in breast cancer. Our study also identified a serum cytokine profile, which potentially could predict disease outcome and be used to monitor the efficacy of Huaier extract treatment in breast cancer.