Xi Shu - Happy Tree -> Topotecan

Xi Shu - Happy Tree

The treatment for my family started from 11:30 am GMT+7, on 23rd of July, 2009. It is combination of Cisplatin, and Topotecan. The IV injection is the method used for my family member, and it will last for 3 days, then interval of 21 days, then again, and again for 4 times (or more)

I have already found link to journal related to this method based on Clinical Trials in Greece, but it is not free, therefore, I have not got hold of it yet. However, I will try to subscribe to those journal, and see how could I re-write, or copy from it here.

Today, I would like to rewrite/copy one interesting fact about Topotecan as it is very interesting to find out that, it is extracted from ancient Chinese tree.

Note: Excerpt is copied or rewritten from link found from herbs2000.com


Camptotheca pronounced Xi shu, translated as "Happy Tree" is a large tree of up to 25 m. in height with slender reddish brown bark and a few branches near the top. It has glossy green, leathery leavers and rounded heads of small, whitish flowers. Cultivars with higher yields of active compounds are being developed. Indigenous to China; it is nowadays grown as ornamental tree and crop plaint in India, Japan and the USA. The tree has been placed on the endangered list in China, so that exports from China are now regulated.

Parts Used

Wood, bark, leaf, fruit


Camptotheca goes by many names in its native lands. Xi Shu translates as "happy tree" and has been called this by people whom it cured of colds and other illnesses. Its other names include Long Shu (dragon tree), Jia Shu (fine tree), and Tian Zi Shu (heaven wood tree). The Chinese have also used this tree for firewood and as an ornamental plant. All American specimens of the Camptotheca are descendants of two trees germinated from seeds brought from China in the 1930s.

The Chinese have used Xi Shu for traditional medication purposes for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years. They have employed Xi Shu against psoriasis and in the treatment of diseases of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and stomach. Xi Shu has also been used to treat leukaemia. In fact, one common name for Camptotheca is the "Cancer Tree". For treating cancer its primary constituent is camptothecin, which inhibits topoisomerase I (one), an enzyme linked with cell division and DNA replication. By inhibiting this enzyme, camptothecin appears to stunt tumour growth. A host of other anticancer medications, have been modified from camptothecin, two of which are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Topotecan is used to treat ovarian and small lung cancers as well as cervical cancer. Irinotecan is used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Other camptothecin related medications are no longer in use because of their severe toxicity.

Habitat and Cultivation

Xi Shu, indigenous to China and Tibet, grows best in warm zones.


Camptothecine, a pentacyclic quinoline alkaloid, is the major compound (about 0.01% in stem bark, 0.02% in root bark and 0.03% in fruits). Camptothecine is poorly soluble in water and causes severe side effects such as diarrhoea and haemorrhagic cystitis. As a result, various semi synthetic analogues have been developed, including 9-amino-20S-camptothecine, irinotecan (also known as irinotecan hydrochloride trihydrate, CPT -II or Camptosar) and topotecan (Hyacamptin).

Camptothecine has proven cytostatic and anti-tumour activity but is also quite toxic. The anticancer effect is due to the unique ability of camptothecine and related compounds to inhibit the nuclear DNA topoisomerase I enzyme so that replication and transcription are interrupted.




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