Effects of red ginseng upon postoperative immunity and survival in patients with stage III gastric cancer

Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(4):483-94. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X02000661.


In this paper, we present evidence that the red ginseng powder from Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer inhibits the recurrence of AJCC stage III gastric cancer and shows immunomodulatory activities during postoperative chemotherapy, after a curative resection with D2 lymph node dissection. Flow cytometric analyses for peripheral T-lymphocyte subsets showed that the red ginseng powder restored CD4 levels to the initial preoperative values during postoperative chemotherapy. Depression of CD3 during postoperative chemotherapy was also inhibited by the red ginseng powder ingestion. This study demonstrated a five-year disease free survival and overall survival rate that was significantly higher in patients taking the red ginseng powder during postoperative chemotherapy versus control (68.2% versus 33.3%, 76.4% versus 38.5%, respectively, p < 0.05). In spite of the limitation of a small number of patients (n = 42), these findings suggest that red ginseng powder may help to improve postoperative survival in these patients. Additionally, red ginseng powder may have some immunomodulatory properties associated with CD3 and CD4 activity in patients with advanced gastric cancer during postoperative chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity / drug effects*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, IgG / immunology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / immunology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Antigens, CD19
  • CD3 Complex
  • Receptors, IgG