Chemoprevention of oral cancer in animal models, and effect on leukoplakias in human patients with ZengShengPing, a mixture of medicinal herbs

Oral Oncol. 2010 Feb;46(2):105-10. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Dec 21.


ZengShengPing (ZSP), a mixture of six medicinal herbs, has been reported to prevent esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in human patients with dysplasia. This study was designed to investigate the chemopreventive effects of ZSP on oral cancer in animal models and human patients. In the 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster cheek pouch model, ZSP (6g/kgBW/day by gavage for 10 weeks) significantly reduced the number of visible tumor, the tumor volume, and the incidence of SCC (P<0.01). Two biomarkers associated with cell proliferation, silver stained nucleolar organizer region (AgNOR) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-labeling index, were also significantly suppressed by ZSP treatment (P<0.01). In the 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO)-induced oro-esophageal cancer model in mice, ZSP (10% in diet) also significantly reduced the incidence of tongue SCC from 55.2% (16/29) to 22.2% (6/27) (P<0.05), and slightly reduced the incidence of esophageal SCC from 34.5% (10/29) to 22.2% (6/27). Furthermore, in a randomized clinical trial on patients with oral leukoplakia, ZSP (4 tablets, 3 times per day for 8-12months) reduced the size of oral lesion in 67.8% (40/59) patients, whereas the placebo was effective in 17% (9/53) patients (P<0.01). Such an effect was associated with significant decrease of AgNOR and PCNA-labeling index. In summary, our studies have demonstrated the chemopreventive effects of ZSP on two animal models of oral cancer, and human patients with oral leukoplakia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cheek
  • Cricetinae
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukoplakia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Mouth Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Mouth Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Plants, Medicinal*