Inhibitory Effects of the Aerial Parts of Epimedium koreanum on TPA-Induced Inflammation and Promotion in Two-Stage Carcinogenesis in Mouse Skin


 Cancer chemoprevention, antitumour-promoting activity, two-stage carcinogenesis, prenyl flavonol glycosides, Epimedium koreanum.

How to Cite

Ken Yasukawa, Sung-Kwon Ko, & Wan-Kyunn Whang. (2016). Inhibitory Effects of the Aerial Parts of Epimedium koreanum on TPA-Induced Inflammation and Promotion in Two-Stage Carcinogenesis in Mouse Skin . Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, 6(2), 38–42.


Cancer prevention by supplements offers the most cost-effective long-term health strategy. Methanol extracts from the aerial parts of Epimediumkoreanum were previously found to inhibit 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced inflammatory ear oedema and tumour promotion by TPA in the two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis model. Four prenyl flavonol glycosides (14) were isolated from the active fraction of this extract, and were identified. The isolated compounds showed inhibitory activity against TPA-induced ear inflammatory ear oedema. The 50% inhibitory dose (ID50) of icariin (1), epimedin A (2), epimedin B (3) and epimedin C (4) for TPA-induced inflammation ranged from 114 to 255 nmol/ear, suggesting greater potency than indomethacin (ID50: 908 nmol/ear), an anti-inflammatory drug. Thus, the epimedium herb may be useful in cancer prevention.


Berenblum I. The cocarcinogenic action of croton resin. Cancer Res 1941; 1: 44-48.

Berenblum I. The mechanism of carcinogenesis. A study of the significance of cocarcinogenic action and related phenomena. Cancer Res 1941; 1: 807-814.

Yasukawa K. Cancer chemopreventive agents: natural pentacyclic triterpenoids, In: ‘Pentacyclic triterpenes as promising agents in cancer’ Ed Salvador JAR. Nova Science Publishers Inc, New York 2010; pp. 127–157.

Yasukawa K. Cancer chemopreventive agents: Tetracyclic triterpenoids, In: ‘Horizons in cancer research Vol 51’ Ed Watanabe HS. Nova Science Publishers Inc, New York 2013; pp. 89-113.

Yasukawa K. Medicinal and edible plants as cancer preventive agents, In: ‘Drug discovery research in pharmacognosy’ Eds Vallisuta O, Olimat SM. InTech, Rijeka, 2012; pp. 127-157.

Yasukawa K. Edible and medicinal mushrooms as promising agents in cancer, In: ‘Drug discovery development ? From molecules to medicine’ Eds Vallisuta O, Olimat SM. InTech, Rijeka, 2015; pp. 39-61.

Fijiki H, Mori M, Nakayasu M, Terada M, Sugimura T. A possible naturally occurring tumor promoter teleocidin B from Streptomyces. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1979; 90: 976-983.

National Commission of Chinese Pharmacopoeia, ‘Pharmacopeia of the People’s Republic of China 10th Edition, Vol. 1’, Chemical Industry Press, Beijing, 2010; p. 229.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration Notification, ‘Korean Pharmacopoeia 9th Edition’ 2007; pp. 1031-1302.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, ‘The Japanese Pharmacopoeia 16th Edition’ 2011; p. 1638.

Bown D. ‘Encyclopedia of herbs & their uses’ Dorling Kindersley, London, 1995; pp. 82, 235-236.

Ma H, He X, Yang Y, Li M, Hao D, Jia Z. The genus Epimedium: An ethnopharmacological and phytochemical review. J Ethnopharmacol 2011; 134: 519-541.

Mizuno M, Hanioka S, Suzuki N, Iinuma N, Tanaka T, Liu X-S, Min Z-D. Flavonol glycosides from Epimedium sagittatum. Phytochemistry 1987; 26: 861-863.

Oshima Y, Okamoto M, Hikino H. Epimedin A, B and C, flavonoid glycosides of Epimedium koreanum herbs. Heterocycles 1987; 26: 935-938.

Scott KA, Moore RJ, Arnott CH, East N, Thompson RG, Scallon BJ, Shealy DJ, Balkwill FR. An anti-tumor necrosis factor-? antibody inhibits the development of experimental skin tumors. Mol Cancer Ther 2003; 2: 445-451.

Xu CQ, Liu BJ, Wu JF, Xu YC, Duan XH, Cao YX, Dong JC. Icariin attenuates LPS-induced acute inflammatory responses: involvement of PI3K/Akt and NF-kappaB signaling pathway. Eur J Pharmacol 2010; 642: 146-153.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2016 Ken Yasukawa, Sung-Kwon Ko , Wan-Kyunn Whang