American ginseng attenuates azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced colon carcinogenesis in mice
Ginseng has been used as an herbal medicine, widely used in Asian countries, for long time. Recently, beneficial effects for immune functions of Korean red ginseng (KRG) have been reported in adults. This study was performed to investigate the effects of ginseng on immune functions in children after cessation of chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation for advanced cancer. Thirty patients, who were diagnosed and treated for leukemia and solid cancer at the department of pediatrics and adolescence of the Yeungnam University Hospital from June 2004 to June 2009, were enrolled for the study. The study group consisted of 19 patients who received KRG extract (60 mg/kg/d) for 1 yr and 11 patients who did not receive KRG extract were the control group. Blood samples were collected every 6 mo. Immune assays included circulating lymphocyte subpopulation, serum cytokines (IL- 2, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma), and total concentrations of serum IgG, IgA, and IgM subclasses. Age at diagnosis ranged from 2 mo to 15 yr (median 5 yr). Nine patients received stem cell transplantation. The cytokines of the KRG treated group were decreasing more rapidly than that of the control group. Lymphocyte subpopulations (T cell, B cell, NK cell, T4, T8, and T4/ T8 ratio) and serum immunoglobulin subclasses (IgG, IgA, and IgM) did not show significant differences between the study and the control groups. This study suggests that KRG extract might have a stabilizing effect on the inflammatory cytokines in children with cancer after chemotherapy.