Published online May 28, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i9.1209
Peer-review started: August 23, 2014
First decision: November 18, 2014
Revised: November 29, 2014
Accepted: December 18, 2014
Article in press: December 19, 2014
Published online: May 28, 2015
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has played a positive role in the management of hepatocarcinoma. Hepatocarcinoma patients may present Qi-stagnation, damp-heat, blood stasis, Qi-deficiency, Yin-deficiency and other TCM syndromes (Zheng). Modern treatments such as surgery, transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and high intensity focus ultrasound treatment would influence the manifestation of TCM syndromes. Herbs with traditional efficacy of tonifying Qi, blood and Yin, soothing liver-Qi stagnation, clearing heat and detoxifying and dissolving stasis, have been demonstrated to be potent to prevent hepatocarcinogenesis. TCM has been widely used in all aspects of integrative therapy in hepatocarcinoma, including surgical resection, liver transplantation, TACE, local ablative therapies and even as monotherapy for middle-advanced stage hepatocarcinoma. Clinical practices have confirmed that TCM is effective to alleviate clinical symptoms, improve quality of life and immune function, prevent recurrence and metastasis, delay tumor progression, and prolong survival time in hepatocarcinoma patients. The effective mechanism of TCM against hepatocarcinoma is related to inducing apoptosis, autophagy, anoikis and cell senescence, arresting cell cycle, regulating immune function, inhibiting metastasis and angiogenesis, reversing drug resistance and enhancing effects of chemotherapy. Along with the progress of research in this field, TCM will contribute more to the prevention and treatment of hepatocarcinoma.
Core tip: Hepatocarcinoma may present different Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndromes (Zheng). Syndromes are associated with hepatocarcinoma progression and prognosis to a certain degree. Modern technologies have been exploited to elucidate the relation between syndromes and biomedical sciences. Chinese herbs or herbal components have been demonstrated to be effective to prevent and treat hepatocarcinoma. Contemporary TCM physicians have established some effective herbal formulas and Chinese patent herbal drugs for hepatocarcinoma prevention and treatment.