Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. May 28, 2015; 7(9): 1209-1232
Published online May 28, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i9.1209
Traditional Chinese medicine for prevention and treatment of hepatocarcinoma: From bench to bedside
Bing Hu, Shuang-Shuang Wang, Qin Du
Bing Hu, Shuang-Shuang Wang, Qin Du, Department of Oncology and Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Oncology, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
Author contributions: Hu B outlined, wrote and revised the manuscript; Wang SS and Du Q wrote parts of the manuscript.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, Nos. 81273726 and 81473625; Three-year Action Program of Shanghai Municipality for Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. ZY3-CCCX-3-3025.
Conflict-of-interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this manuscript.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dr. Bing Hu, Department of Oncology and Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Oncology, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 725 South Wanping Road, Shanghai 200032, China.
Telephone: +86-21-64385700 Fax: +86-21-64398310
Received: August 22, 2014
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.

Keywords: Hepatocarcinoma, Traditional Chinese medicine, Prevention, Treatment, Traditional Chinese medicine syndrome (Zheng), Therapeutic principle, Chinese herbal formula, Chinese herb

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.