Ampelopsis japonica Halts Breast Cancer Metastasis

Ampelopsis japonica halts breast cancer

Ampelopsis japonica: Wikipedia Commons License

The more we research plant medicines among human cancer cell lines, the more we find that so many plant medicines will halt and even eliminate cancerous cells and tumors before they rage out of control.

The mechanisms for this are varied, but what is consistent is that nature provides the means to treat cancer – assuming the correct approach and the right plants and extracts.

Research from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine has determined that an alcohol-extract from the traditional herb Ampelopsis japonica can halt the growth of human breast cancer cells, and thus halt metastasis.

For many cancer conditions, metastasis is the raging monster that needs to be halted. Once a few cancer cells form a tumor, they can send out cells to grow in other tissues and organs.

Human breast cancer cells tested

The researchers utilized the human breast cancer cell line identified as MDA‑MB‑231 – which is highly metastatic. This means that these types of cancer cells will quickly grow into tumors and quickly began to expand outside of the breast tissues.

The researchers produced an ethanol extract of the Ampelopsis japonica plant. This plant grows throughout Japan, Korea and China and is often called Bunge.

The researchers found that the A. japonica extract significantly suppressed the growth and migration of the cancer cells within this laboratory test. They also found that the extract inhibited an enzyme called metalloproteinase- (also called MMP-2) – this enzyme assists cancer cells in their ability to migrate to other tissues.

When activity from the metalloproteinase-2 enzyme is suppressed, the ability for tumors to expand is overtly suppressed.

Other MMP enzymes suppressed

The researchers also found that the A. japonica extract also suppressed the enzyme metalloproteinase-9. This enzyme stimulates inflammation, which also assists cancerous tumors from growing and expanding outside their current tissue regions.

In fact, MMP-2 and MMP-9 inhibitors have been the subject of significant research by pharmaceutical companies who are seeking to patent processes that have already been produced by nature.

Ampelopsis japonica

The Ampelopsis japonica plant is a climbing shrub that can develop into a tree over time. It is often found climbing over man made structures along highways and bridges.

Traditional Asian medicines have used the plant for the purpose of reducing inflammation and for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also known to increase healing times in wounds.

These traditional uses perfectly coincide with the effects the above research accomplished, as suppressing MMP-9 will reduce inflammation, and suppressing MMP-2 will speed up wound healing.


Nho KJ, Chun JM, Kim DS, Kim HK. Ampelopsis japonica ethanol extract suppresses migration and invasion in human MDA‑MB‑231 breast cancer cells. Mol Med Rep. 2015 Jan 9.

Duke, JA. Ayensu, ES. Medicinal Plants of China. Reference Pub. Algonac. Michigan, 1985.


Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.