The effects of a Chinese herb formula, anti-cancer number one (ACNO), on NK cell activity and tumor metastasis in rats

Li Hong-Fen, Tal Waisman, Yair Maimon, Keren Shakhar, Ella Rosenne, Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of anti-cancer number one (ACNO), a 19-herb Chinese formula used to treat cancer patients, were studied in F344 rats. In the first study, the number and activity of circulating NK cells were evaluated following 18 days of oral consumption of 0.1, 0.5, or 2 g/kg/day. The second study assessed the effect of ACNO on resistance to metastasis of the MADB106 tumor line, a syngeneic mammary adenocarcinoma that metastasizes only to the lungs and is highly sensitive to NK activity (NKA) in vivo. Resistance to metastasis was assessed under baseline conditions and following the administration of a β-adrenergic agonist, metaproterenol (MP). MP was used to simulate sympathetic response to stressful conditions, and was previously shown to suppress resistance to MADB106 metastasis. The results of the first study indicated a dose-dependent increase in NKA per ml of blood and per NK cell, with no significant changes in blood concentration of NK cells. In the second study, whereas MP caused a 4.5-fold increase in the number of metastases in untreated rats, only a 2.3-fold increase occurred in rats treated with ACNO. No significant improvement in baseline levels of resistance to metastasis was observed. These findings indicate the importance of studying ACNO under stressful conditions in patients with potentially metastasizing tumors. This may prove particularly important during the perioperative period, spanning from the detection of the primary tumor to postoperative treatment. During this critical period, psychological and physiological stress responses are known to cause massive immunosuppression, which was suggested to promote metastatic development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1947-1956
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001


  • Astragalus
  • Cancer
  • Chinese medicine
  • Ginseng
  • MADB106
  • Natural killer


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