Anticancer activity and mechanism of Scutellaria barbata extract on human lung cancer cell line A549

Xiaolu Yin, Jiangbing Zhou, Chunfa Jie, Dongming Xing, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Scutellaria barbata (S. barbata), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine native to southern China, is widely used as an anti-inflammatory and a diuretic in China. Several studies have indicated that extracts of S. barbata have growth inhibitory effects on a number of human cancers. Treatment of lung cancer, digestive system cancers, hepatoma, breast cancer, and chorioepithelioma by S. barbata extracts was reported. However, the mechanism underlying the antitumor activity was unclear. In this study, we studied the growth inhibitory effect of S. barbata and determined its mechanism of antitumor activity using human lung cancer cell line A549. Our results showed that ethanol extracts of S. barbata greatly inhibited A549 cell growth, with IC 50 of 0.21 mg/ml. The major mechanisms of inhibition included cell apoptosis and cytotoxic effects. cDNA microarray analysis showed that 16 genes, involved in DNA damage, cell cycle control, nucleic acid binding and protein phosphorylation, underwent more than 5-fold change. These data indicated that these processes are involved in S. barbata-mediated killing of cancer cells. A surprising finding is that CD209, related to dendritic cell (DC) function, was dramatically downregulated by 102-fold. Further functional studies are needed to assess the role of the array-identified genes in S. barbata mediated anticancer activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2233-2244
Number of pages12
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 17 2004


  • Cancer
  • Herbal medicine
  • Scutellaria barbata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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