Polysaccharides from dong quai have been shown to possess antitumour effects in experimental in vivo tumour models and inhibitory effects on invasion and metastasis of in vitro hepatocellular carcinoma cells (Shang et al 2003). An acetone extract of dong quai was found to inhibit proliferation of human cancer cells in vitro via induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (Cheng et al 2004). There is evidence to suggest that a chloroform extract of dong quai suppresses growth of malignant brain tumour cells in vitro, as well as suppressing growths of malignant brain tumours of rat and human origin and shrinking the volumes of in situ glioblastoma multiforme, significantly prolonging survivals in vivo (Tsai et al 2005).

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