Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Jun 29;2021:2847466. doi: 10.1155/2021/2847466. eCollection 2021.
Citrus folium and its main ingredient nobiletin (NOB) have received widespread attention in recent years due to their antitumor effects. The antitumor effect of Citrus folium is related to the traditional use, mainly in its Chinese medicinal properties of soothing the liver and promoting qi, resolving phlegm, and dispelling stagnation. Some studies have proved that Citrus folium and NOB are more effective for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is related to the syndrome of stagnation of liver qi. From the perspective of modern biomedical research, NOB has anticancer effects. Its potential molecular mechanisms include inhibition of the cell cycle, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of angiogenesis, invasion, and migration. Citrus folium and NOB can also reduce the side effects of chemotherapy drugs and reverse multidrug resistance (MDR). However, more research studies are needed to clarify the underlying mechanisms. The modern evidence of Citrus folium and NOB in breast cancer treatment has a strong connection with the traditional concepts and laws of applying Citrus folium in Chinese medicine (CM). As a low-toxic anticancer drug candidate, NOB and its structural changes, Citrus folium, and compound prescriptions will attract scientists to use advanced technologies such as genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics to study its potential anticancer effects and mechanisms. On the contrary, there are relatively few studies on the anticancer effects of Citrus folium and NOB in vivo. The clinical application of Citrus folium and NOB as new cancer treatment drugs requires in vivo verification and further anticancer mechanism research. This review aims to provide reference for the treatment of breast cancer by Chinese medicine.