1. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau, 999078, China.
2. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicines, Macau Institute for Applied Research in Medicine and Health, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, 999078, China.
3. MoE Frontiers Science Center for Precision Oncology, University of Macau, Macau, 999078, China.
†These authors contribute equally to this work.
Combination therapy against cancer has gained increasing attention because it can help to target multiple pathways to tackle oncologic progression and improve the limited antitumor effect of single-agent therapy. Chinese medicine has been studied extensively in cancer therapy and proven to be efficacious in many cases due to its wide spectrum of anticancer activities. In this review, we aim to summarize the recent progress of active ingredients from Chinese medicine (AIFCM) in combination with various cancer therapeutic modalities, including chemotherapy, gene therapy, radiotherapy, phototherapy and immunotherapy. In addition to highlighting the potential contribution of AIFCM in combination cancer therapy, we also elucidate the underlying mechanisms behind their synergistic effect and improved anticancer efficacy, thereby encouraging the inclusion of these AIFCM as part of effective armamentarium in fighting intractable cancers. Finally, we present the challenges and future perspectives of AIFCM combination therapy as a feasible and promising strategy for the optimization of cancer treatment and better clinical outcomes.
Keywords: Chinese medicine, Active ingredients, Combination cancer therapy, Nanomedicine