Depression is a risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC) progression. Xiaoyaosan (XYS) is a traditional Chinese medicine prescription for treating depression. Our present study aimed to investigate the effect of XYS on chronic restraint stress (CRS) in mice with CRC xenografts and explore its underlying mechanisms. XYS treatment for 21 consecutive days successfully reduced the tumour volume and tumour weight in mice and prolonged the overall survival time. In addition, the intestinal permeability in the XYS group was significantly improved after administration. The 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing method was used to sequence stool samples to check the structure and changes of gut bacteria. XYS mainly regulated the abundance of Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Desulfovibrio and Rikenellaceae. Taken together, these results provide direct strong evidence that XYS effectively improves the progression of CRC in CRS-handled mice, and its efficacy is associated with the modulation of gut dysbiosis. The application of XYS can be a novel therapeutic strategy for CRC patients with depression.
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