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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 373219, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/373219
Review Article

Antitumor Activities of Kushen: Literature Review

1Key Laboratory of Liver and Kidney Diseases, Institute of Liver Diseases, Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201203, China
2Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201203, China
3E-institute of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, Shanghai 201203, China
4Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang 100032, China
5School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 4 January 2012; Revised 30 May 2012; Accepted 7 June 2012

Academic Editor: Francesca Borrelli

Copyright © 2012 Mingyu Sun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

To discover and develop novel natural compounds with therapeutic selectivity or that can preferentially kill cancer cells without significant toxicity to normal cells is an important area in cancer chemotherapy. Kushen, the dried roots of Sophora flavescens Aiton, has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory diseases and cancer. Kushen alkaloids (KS-As) and kushen flavonoids (KS-Fs) are well-characterized components in kushen. KS-As containing oxymatrine, matrine, and total alkaloids have been developed in China as anticancer drugs. More potent antitumor activities were identified in KS-Fs than in KS-As in vitro and in vivo. KS-Fs may be developed as novel antitumor agents.