JC-001 is a Chinese medicine that has been used to treat liver disease; however, its significance in cancer treatment has not been characterized. In this study, we used an immunocompetent tumor model to characterize the antitumor activity of JC-001. A total of 48 Hepa 1-6 tumor-bearing C57BL/6 mice were randomly grouped into 4 groups and treated with H2O or JC-001 via oral administration. After hepatoma cell lines, including HepG2, Hep3B, SK-Hep-1, and Hepa 1-6, underwent 96 hours of JC-001 treatment, a low cytotoxic effect was observed. In contrast, no direct cytotoxic effect of JC-001 on a normal human liver cell line, THLE-3, was observed under the same incubation conditions. Using a murine tumor model, we found that tumor growth could be inhibited by JC-001 in C57BL/6 mice but not in immunodeficient mice. Histopathological analysis of tumors from C57BL/6 mice revealed immune cell infiltration in tumors from the JC-001–treated group, as observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining; in addition, Ki67, hypoxia-inducible factor-1-α, and high mobility group box 1 expression levels were suppressed in the tumors. Both the coculture assay and murine spleen mRNA quantitative PCR analyses demonstrated that JC-001 could suppress Th17 immunity. Our data suggest that JC-001 is a Chinese medicine with low cytotoxicity that can significantly suppress tumor growth by immune regulation. This herbal remedy has great potential for future clinical application in hepatoma therapy.
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