Extract of Ginkgo biloba exacerbates liver metastasis in a mouse colon cancer Xenograft model

Huan Wang, Xia Wu, Stephane Lezmi, Qian Li, William G. Helferich, Yueqing Xu, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Metastasis refers to the spread of a primary tumor cell from the primary site to other locations in the body and it is generally associated with the severity of a tumor. Extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb) contains various bioactive compounds and it exerts beneficial effects including improvements in brain function and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, increased risk of thyroid and liver cancers by EGb have been reported in animals. Methods: A colon cancer metastasis model was established using intrasplenic injection of a human colon cancer cell line, SW620-luc in athymic mice to investigate the potential impact of EGb on colon cancer progression. After tumor establishment, EGb was intraperitonically injected daily for 5 wks. Results: EGb significantly increased the rate of metastasis in mouse liver and decreased the number of necrotic and apoptotic cells in the metastatic liver when compared to the control. Meanwhile, EGb significantly induced proliferation of tumor cells in the metastatic liver, indicated by increased staining of Ki67 and H3S10p. mRNA expression of genes involved in cell cycle, metastasis, apoptosis, and oxidative stress were altered by EGb treatment in livers with tumors. Moreover, EGb activated the stress-responsive MAPK pathways in the liver with metastatic tumors. Conclusions: EGb exacerbated liver metastasis in a mouse colon cancer metastasis model. This is potentially due to the increased tumor cell proliferation involving stimulated MAPK pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number516
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2 2017


  • EGb
  • Gene expression
  • Mapk
  • Metastasis
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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