We used the fluorescence ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) to monitor cell cycle arrest after treatment of FUCCI-expressing HeLa cells (FUCCI-HeLa) with a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal mixture LQ, previously shown to have anti-tumor and anti-metastatic activity in mouse models. Paclitaxel was used as the positive control. In 2D monolayer culture, the untreated control had approximately 45% of the cells in S/G2/M phase. In contrast, the LQ-treated cells (9 mg/ml) were mostly in the G0/G1 (>90%) after 72 hours. After treatment with paclitaxel (0.01 μm), for 72 hours, 95% of the cells were in S/G2/M. In 2.5D Matrigel® culture, the colonies in the untreated control group had 40% of the cells in S/G2/M. LQ arrested the cells in G0/G1 after 72 hours. Paclitaxel arrested almost all the cells in S/G2/M after 72 hours. In 3D Gelfoam® culture, the untreated control culture had approximately 45% of cells in G2/M. In contrast, the LQ-treated cells were mostly in G0/G1 phase (>80%) after 72 hours treatment. Paclitaxel resulted in 90% of the cells arrested in S/G2/M after 72 hours. The present report suggests the non-toxic LQ has potential to maintain cancers in a quiescent state for long periods of time.
- Herbal mixture
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