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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 635702, 10 pages
Research Article

Tumor Microenvironment Varies under Different TCM ZHENG Models and Correlates with Treatment Response to Herbal Medicine

1Department of Integrative Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai 200032, China
2Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

Received 11 January 2012; Accepted 1 April 2012

Academic Editor: Shi-Bing Su

Copyright © 2012 Zhen Chen 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.


In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), diagnosis of pathology and choice of treatment prescriptions are based on a method of differentiation of signs and symptoms known as syndrome differentiation or ZHENG. The cornerstone of TCM, ZHENG, relies on the gathering of clinical information through inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiry, and palpation. However, the biomolecular basis of the ZHENG remains unclear. In this study, we established mouse xenograft pancreatic cancer models with Shi-Re (Dampness-Heat), Pi-Xu (Spleen-Deficiency), or Xue-Yu (Blood-Stasis) ZHENG, which are regarded as the three major ZHENGs in pancreatic cancer. We found that tumors of the different ZHENG models exhibited significantly altered cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) proliferative activity and tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) infiltration, which led to altered levels of CAF- and TAM-derived secreted cytokines such as SDF-1 and CCL5. The ZHENG model type also significantly influenced tumor growth, and administration of herbal medicine to the ZHENG model modified the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, this study partially unveiled the molecular basis of TCM ZHENG in pancreatic cancer.