Chinese Scullcap (baicalein) has anticancer activity in prostate cancer. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Anticancer activity of Scutellaria baicalensis and its potential mechanism.
J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Oct;8(5):567-72. PMID: 12470437
OBJECTIVE: Scutellaria baicalensis is a widely used Chinese herbal medicine that historically is used in anti-inflammatory and anticancer therapy. The aim of the study is to determine its ability to inhibit human cancer cells in vitro and to determine whether its anticancer activity is because of the inhibition of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) production that is derived from arachidonic acid through cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathway. METHODS: Cell lines from the most common human cancers, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC-25, KB), breast cancer (MCF-7), hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2), prostate carcinoma (PC-3 and LNCaP), and colon cancer (KM-12 and HCT-15) were tested. The cells were treated with various concentrations of Scutellaria baicalensis (0.1-100 mg/mL) for 72 hours. Percentage of viable cells after treatment was assessed using a trypan blue dye exclusion assay and the level of PGE(2) production was determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). RESULTS: Scutellaria baicalensis demonstrated a strong dose-dependent growth inhibition in all cell lines. Inhibition concentration at 50% (IC(50)) for HepG2, MCF-7, PC-3, LNCaP, KM-12, HCT-15, KB and SCC-25 cells was 1.1, 0.9, 0.52, 0.82, 1.1, 1.5, 1.0, and 1.2 mg/mL, respectively. Three cell lines (KB, SCC-25, and HepG2) were assessed for the production of PGE(2) and a high level of extracellular (KB and SCC-25) and intracellular PGE(2) (HepG2) was noted. In the presence of Scutellaria baicalensis extract, there was a significant decrease of PGE(2) in a dose-dependent fashion. CONCLUSIONS: Scutellaria baicalensis strongly inhibits cell growth in all cancer cell lines tested. However, prostate and breast cancer cells (PC-3, LNCaP, and MCF-7) are slightly more sensitive than other type of cancer cells. It also inhibits PGE(2) production, indicating that suppression of tumor cell growth may be due to its ability to inhibit COX-2 activity. This study supports the notion of using Scutellaria baicalensis as a novel anticancer agent to treat various cancers.