Role of Ginseng, Quercetin, and Tea in Enhancing Chemotherapeutic Efficacy of Colorectal Cancer

Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Jun 20;9:939424. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.939424. eCollection 2022.


As the most common gastrointestinal malignancy, colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Although multimodal chemotherapy has effectively improved the prognosis of patients with CRC in recent years, severe chemotherapy-associated side effects and chemoresistance still greatly impair efficacy and limit its clinical application. In response to these challenges, an increasing number of traditional Chinese medicines have been used as synergistic agents for CRC administration. In particular, ginseng, quercetin, and tea, three common dietary supplements, have been shown to possess the potent capacity of enhancing the sensitivity of various chemotherapy drugs and reducing their side effects. Ginseng, also named "the king of herbs", contains a great variety of anti-cancer compounds, among which ginsenosides are the most abundant and major research objects of various anti-tumor studies. Quercetin is a flavonoid and has been detected in multiple common foods, which possesses a wide range of pharmacological properties, especially with stronger anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. As one of the most consumed beverages, tea has become particularly prevalent in both West and East in recent years. Tea and its major extracts, such as catechins and various constituents, were capable of significantly improving life quality and exerting anti-cancer effects both in vivo and in vitro. In this review, we mainly focused on the adjunctive effects of the three herbs and their constituents on the chemotherapy process of CRC.

Keywords: chemoresistance; chemotherapy; colorectal cancer; ginseng; quercetin; tea.

Publication types

  • Review