Immunostimulating Effect of a Well-known Thai Folkloric Remedy in Breast Cancer Patients

  • Thisoda, Piengpen (Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University) ;
  • Ketsa-ard, Kanchana (Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University) ;
  • Thongprasert, Sommai (Cancer Clinic) ;
  • Vongsakul, Molvibha (Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University) ;
  • Picha, Pornthipa (Department of Research, National Cancer Institute, Ministry of Public Health) ;
  • Karbwang, Juntra (Department of Clinical Product Development, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University) ;
  • Na-Bangchang, Kesara (Chulabhorn International College of Medicine, Thammasat University)
  • Published : 2013.04.30


The study aimed to evaluate immune-stimulating effects of a well-known Thai folkloric remedy when used for adjuvant therapy with conventional chemotherapeutics for treatment of breast cancer. Immunostimulating influence of the remedy (215 mg/kg body weight per day) on NK cell activity and TNF-${\alpha}$ release from the monocytes/macrophages were investigated in a total of 15 healthy women and 13 female patients with breast cancer (Group 1). The effect of breast tumor surgery on NK cell activity was further investigated in 18 female patients with breast cancer (Group 2). NK cell cytotoxic activity was determined by chromium release cytotoxic assay using K562, an erythroleukemic cell line. TNF-${\alpha}$ release from monocytes/macrophages separated from blood samples was determined through a biological assay using actinomycin D-treated L929 mouse fibroblast cells in the presence and absence of LPS. Baseline NK cell activity of the monocytes/macrophages separated from Group 2 patients expressed as %cytotoxicity was significantly lower than in the healthy subjects at E:T ratios of 100:1 and 25:1. In healthy subjects, there was no change in NK cell cytotoxic activity (%cytotoxicity or LU) following 1 and 2 weeks of treatment with the remedy compared with the baseline at various E:T ratios but the binding activity (%binding) was significantly increased after 2 weeks of treatment. The addition of one or two conventional chemotherapeutic regimens did not significantly reduce the NK cytotoxic activity but did affect release of TNF-${\alpha}$ in both unstimulated and LPS-stimulated samples. Surgery produced a significant suppressive effect on NK cell activity. The use of the remedy as an adjunct therapy may improve therapeutic efficacy and safety profiles of conventional chemotherapeutic regimens through stimulation of the immune system in cancer patients.


Supported by : Mahidol University


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