Inhibitory Effect of Ginsenoside Rg3 Combined With 5-Fluorouracil on Tumor Angiogenesis and Tumor Growth of Colon Cancer in Mice: An Experimental Study

ZHAO Yashu, DENG Licong, CAO Yue, MA Buyun, LI Yue, XU Jingyi, LI Hong, HUANG Ying


To evaluate the inhibitory effect of ginsenoside Rg3 combined with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) on tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth in colon cancer in mice.Methods CT26 mouse model of colon cancer was established and the mice were randomly assigned to the control group, the ginsenoside Rg3 group, the 5-FU group, and the Rg3 combined with 5-FU group. The 5-FU group was injected intraperitoneally at the dose of 20 mg/kg, 0.2 mL/animal, and once a day for 10 days. Treatment for the Rg3 group was given at the dose of 20 mg/kg, 0.2 mL/animal, and once a day for 21 days via gastric gavage. The dose and the mode of treatment for the Rg3+5-FU combination group were the same as those for the 5-FU and the Rg3 group. The control group was intraperitoneally injected with 0.2 mL/d of normal saline for 10 days. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and CD31 and the microvascular density (MVD) of the tumor tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. The blood flow signals and tumor necrosis were examined by color Doppler flow imaging (CDFI). The quality of life, survival rate, tumor volume, tumor mass, and tumor inhibition rate of the mice were monitored.Results After 21 days of treatment, the tumor volume and the tumor mass of all treatment groups were significantly decreased compared with those the control group, with the combination treatment group exhibiting the most significant decrease. The tumor inhibition rates of the Rg3 group, the 5-FU group, and the combination group were 29.96%, 68.78%, and 73.42%, respectively. Rg3 treatment alone had inhibitory effect on tumor growth to a certain degree, while 5-FU treatment alone or 5-FU combined with Rg3 had a stronger inhibitory effect on tumor growth. The tumor inhibition rate of the combination group was higher than that of the 5-FU group, but the difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05). Color Doppler ultrasound showed that there were multiple localized and large tumor necrotic areas that were obvious and observable in the Rg3 group and the combination group, and that there were only small tumor necrotic areas in the 5-FU group and the control group. The tumor necrosis rate of the combination group was (55.63±3.12)%, which was significantly higher than those of the other groups (P<0.05). CDFI examination of the blood flow inside of the tumor of the mice showed that the blood flow signals in the combination group were mostly grade 0-Ⅰ, and that the blood flow signals in the control group were the most abundant, being mostly grade Ⅱ-Ⅲ. The abundance of the blood flow signals in the Rg3 and 5-FU groups were between those of the control group and the combination group. Compared with those of the control group, the expression levels of MVD and VEGF in the tumor tissues of the Rg3 group, the 5-FU group, and the combination group were significantly decreased, with the combination group showing the most significant decrease (P<0.05). HE staining results indicated that there was significant tumor necrosis in mice in the control group and that there were more blood vessels. In contrast, in the tumor of the Rg3 group and the 5-FU group, there were fewer blood vessels and necrotic gaps appeared within the tumors. In the combination group, the tumor tissues had the fewest blood vessels and rope-like necrosis was observed. The mice started dying on the 18th day after treatment started, and all the mice in the control group died on the 42nd day. By this time, there were 3, 5, and 7 mice still alive in the Rg3 group, the 5-FU group, and the combination group, respectively, presenting a survival rate of 30%, 50%, and 70%, respectively. All mice in all the groups died on day 60 after treatment started.Conclusion Ginsenoside Rg3 combined with 5-FU can significantly inhibit tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth of colon cancer in mice and improve the survival and quality of life of tumor-bearing mice.

Keywords: Ginsenoside Rg3,  5-fluorouracil,  Colon cancer,  Tumor growth,  Tumor angiogenesis

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