A correlational study of Weifuchun and its clinical effect on intestinal flora in precancerous lesions of gastric cancer

Chin Med. 2021 Nov 20;16(1):120. doi: 10.1186/s13020-021-00529-9.


Background: Weifuchun (WFC), a Chinese herbal prescription consisting of Red Ginseng, Isodon amethystoides and Fructus Aurantii, is commonly used in China to treat a variety of chronic stomach disorders. The aim of the paper was to determine the effect of WFC on intestinal microbiota changes in precancerous lesions of gastric cancer (PLGC) patients.

Methods: PLGC patients of H. pylori negative were randomly divided into two groups and received either WFC tablets for a dose of 1.44 g three times a day or vitacoenzyme (Vit) tablets for a dose of 0.8 g three times a day. All patients were treated for 6 months consecutively. Gastroscopy and histopathology were used to assess the histopathological changes in gastric tissues before and after treatment. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was carried out to assess the effects WFC on intestinal microbiota changes in PLGC patients. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis was used to assess the sensitivity and specificity of different intestinal microbiota in distinguishing between PLGC patients and healthy control group.

Results: Gastroscopy and histopathological results indicated that WFC could improve the pathological condition of PLGC patients, especially in the case of atrophy or intestinal metaplasia. The results of 16S rRNA gene sequencing indicated that WFC could regulate microbial diversity, microbial composition, and abundance of the intestinal microbiota of PLGC patients. Following WFC treatment, the relative abundance of Parabacteroides decreased in WFC group when compared with the Vit group. ROC analysis found that the Parabacteroides could effectively distinguish PLGC patients from healthy individuals with sensitivity of 0.79 and specificity of 0.8.

Conclusions: WFC could slow down the progression of PLGC by regulating intestinal microbiota abundance. Trial registration NCT03814629. Name of registry: Randomized Clinical Trial: Weifuchun Treatment on Precancerous Lesions of Gastric Cancer. Registered 3 August 2018-Retrospectively registered, https://register.clinicaltrials.gov/ NCT03814629.

Keywords: Intestinal microbiota; Precancerous lesions of gastric cancer; Randomized controlled clinical trial; Weifuchun.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03814629