[Potentiated effects of total saponins of Panax Ginseng on inhibition of leukemic cells by cytotoxic drugs]

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Jan;19(1):17-9.
[Article in Chinese]


Objective: To investigate the potentiated effects of total saponins of Panax Ginseng (TSPG) on inhibition of leukemic progenitor cells by cytotoxic drugs in acute myelocytic leukemia.

Methods: Using bone marrow culture of colony forming unite-acute myeloid leukemia (CFU-AML) method, the sensitivity of leukemic cells obtained from 18 patients to homoharringtonin (HHr), cytarabine (Ara), adriamycin (Adr) and etoposide (VP-16) were detected separately.

Results: TSPG alone (20 micrograms/ml) could stimulate proliferation of CFU-AML obviously, and increase the colony numbers by 37.98% over the non-TSPG control (P < 0.01). In the presence of TSPG, the inhibition rates of CFU-AML of HHr, Ara, Adr and VP-16 were 51.2%-62.0% respectively, which were significantly higher than 30.4%-47.4% of non-TSPG control (all P < 0.01). In the combination of TSPG with cytotoxic drugs, the leukemic progenitor cells became more sensitive to cytotoxic drugs, CFU-AML colony numbers at 1.84-2.23 fold as more as those of non-TSPG control were inhibited by HHr, Ara, Adr and VP-16. Sensitivity test of 17 among 72 drugs reversed from resistant (suppression rate less than 30%) to sensitive (suppression rate more than 30%) by TSPG.

Conclusions: TSPG could drive non-cycling leukemic progenitors to enter cell cycle, and thereby enhance their susceptibility to cytotoxic drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Ginsenosides
  • Harringtonines / pharmacology
  • Homoharringtonine
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Monocytic, Acute / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panax
  • Saponins / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Ginsenosides
  • Harringtonines
  • Saponins
  • Homoharringtonine