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HFCF with HPLC is first introduced for screening antitumor components in a TCM formula.Main antitumor components in Zi-Cao-Cheng-Qi decoction are identified in vitro and vivo.A antitumor aspect of Zi-Cao-Cheng-Qi decoction is initially discovered.Relationship of the antitumor activity of Zi-Cao-Cheng-Qi decoction between in vitro and vivo were correlated.Hollow fiber cell fishing (HFCF) based on hepatoma HepG-2 cells, human renal tubular ACHN cells or human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells, coupled with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), was developed and employed to research the major active components in Zi-Cao-Cheng-Qi decoction both in vitro and in vivo. The research showed that the active components, such as hesperidin, magnolol, honokiol, shikonin, emodin and β,β′-dimethylacrylshikonin were screened out by HFCF based on the cancer cells in vitro, furthermore they can be absorbed into blood and reach in the target organ, and some of the active components can be fished by the cells and maintain effective concentrations. Before application of HFCF with HPLC, cell growth state, cell survival rate, positive effect on screening results binding between active centers on the fiber and target components, repeatability of retention times and relative peak areas of the target analytes were analysed and investigated. In short, HFCF with HPLC is a simple, inexpensive, effective, and reliable method that can be used in researching active components from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its formula both in vitro and in vivo, elucidating preliminarily the TCM characteristics of multiple components and multiple targets, laying a foundation for expounding the antitumor efficacy material basis in TCM.