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Jiawei Yanghe Decoction suppresses breast cancer by regulating immune responses via JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Jiawei Yanghe Decoction (JWYHD) is a widely used traditional Chinese medicine prescription in the clinical setting for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Many studies showed that JWYHD has anti-tumor activities in cell and animal models. However, the anti-breast cancer effects of JWYHD and the underlying mechanisms of action remain unknown.

AIM OF STUDY: This study aimed to determine the anti-breast cancer effect and reveal the underlying mechanisms of action in vivo, in vitro and in silico.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Orthotopic xenograft breast cancer mouse model and inflammatory zebrafish model were used to observe the anti-tumor effect and immune cell regulation of JWYHD. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effect of JWYHD were evaluated by the expression of RAW 264.7 cells. JWYHD active ingredients were obtained by UPLC-MS/MS and potential targets were screened by network pharmacology. At last, the therapeutic targets and signaling pathways predicted by computer were assessed by western blot, real-time PCR (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining, and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to explore the the therapeutic mechanism of JWYHD against breast cancer.

RESULTS: JWYHD significantly decreased the tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner in the orthotopic xenograft breast cancer mouse model. Flow cytometry and IHC results indicated that JWYHD decreased the expressions of M2 macrophages and Treg while increasing M1 macrophages. Meanwhile, ELISA and western blot results showed a decrease in IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, PTGS2 and VEGFα in tumor tissue of JWYHD groups. The results were also verified in LPS-induced RAW264.7 cells and zebrafish inflammatory models. TUNEL assay and IHC results showed that JWYHD significantly induced apoptosis. Seventy-two major compounds in JWYHD were identified by UPLC-MS/MS and Network pharmacology. It was found that the significant binding affinity of JWYHD to TNFα, PTGS2, EGFR, STAT3, VEGFα and their expression was inhibited by JWYHD. Western blot and IHC analysis confirmed that JWYHD plays an important role in anti-tumor and immune regulation by regulating JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway.

CONCLUSION: JWYHD exerts a significant anti-tumor effect mainly by inhibiting inflammation, activating immune responses and inducing apoptosis via the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway. Our findings provide strong pharmacological evidence for the clinical application of JWYHD in the management of breast cancer.

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