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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 5364010, 9 pages
Research Article

Anticancer Effects of Salvia miltiorrhiza Alcohol Extract on Oral Squamous Carcinoma Cells

1Department of Otolaryngology, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei City 106, Taiwan
2Department of Otolaryngology, Sijhih Cathay General Hospital, New Taipei City 221, Taiwan
3School of Medicine, Fu-Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City 242, Taiwan
4Department of Hemato-Oncology, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan City 710, Taiwan
5Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
6Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
7Center for Infectious Disease and Cancer Research, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
8Graduate Institute of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
9Institute of Medical Science and Technology, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan
10Department of Medical Research, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
11Institute of Cosmetic Science, Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan City 717, Taiwan

Correspondence should be addressed to Wan-Chi Tsai; wt.ude.umk@ihcnaw

Received 9 September 2016; Revised 30 November 2016; Accepted 22 December 2016; Published 29 January 2017

Academic Editor: Michael Silbermann

Copyright © 2017 Wen-Hung Wang 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.


Researchers have reported significant effects from Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) in terms of inhibiting tumor cell proliferation and promoting apoptosis in breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinomas, promyelocytic leukemia, and clear cell ovary carcinomas. Here we report our data indicating that Danshen extracts, especially alcohol extract, significantly inhibited the proliferation of the human oral squamous carcinoma (OSCC) cell lines HSC-3 and OC-2. We also observed that Danshen alcohol extract activated the caspase-3 apoptosis executor by impeding members of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family, but not by regulating the Bcl-2-triggered mitochondrial pathway in OSCC cells. Our data also indicate that the extract exerted promising effects in vivo, with HSC-3 tumor xenograft growth being suppressed by 40% and 69% following treatment with Danshen alcohol extract at 50 and 100 mg/kg, respectively, for 34 days. Combined, our results indicate appreciable anticancer activity and significant potential for Danshen alcohol extract as a natural antioxidant and herbal human oral cancer chemopreventive drug.