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Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms as Promising Agents in Cancer

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Edible mushrooms such as Lentinula edodes (shiitake) and Grifola frondosa (maitake) have been known from ancient folklore to possess properties that enhance biological defense responses (immune functions), and have been used in people with decreased immune function such as those with cancer, allergies and other disorders, and in elderly people. Many of these mushrooms contain compounds called β-glucans, which are high molecular weight polysaccharides of glucose linked together by glycosidic bonds. β-glucans are contained in mushrooms, yeast, fungi, and higher plants. In Japan, several mushroom-derived pharmaceutical products have been developed, and include schizophyllan from Schizophyllum commune, krestin from Trametes versicolor, and lentinan from L. edodes an anticancer polysaccharide from shiitake. In South Korea, meshima, a mycelia culture of Phellinus linteus, was developed as an anticancer drug. Antitumor activities of polysaccharides and peptide polysaccharides in these mushrooms have been reported. In addition to polysaccharides, unique substances such as sterols and triterpenes are reportedly present in mushrooms. Some of these compounds are promising anticancer agents. Please refer to a review published elsewhere for a description on herbal medicine extracts that have been anticipated for their cancer prevention effects [1]. In this chapter, we will introduce the anticancer activities of polysaccharides as well as the cancer prevention activities of sterols and triterpenes. P. linteus belongs to Hymenochaetaceae family, and is called souou in traditional Japanese medicine, and has been highly valued since ancient times. It has been referred to as the "mythical" mushroom since it grows extremely slowly in nature and artificial cultivation is also difficult. Research in South Korea succeeded in the mass cultivation of P. linteus Yoo (HKSY-PL2) strain, which has been shown to be more effective than most other strains. P. linteus has properties to enhance the natural healing capability of the body, and was developed as a pharmaceutical product called meshima. Mycelia culture of P. linteus activated dendritic cells and macrophages through increased secretions of interleukin 12 (IL-12), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) by T-cells, and enhanced the antitumor effects of NK cells [17]. A proteoglycan generated by P. linteus acted as an immunostimulant and disrupted the Reg IV/EGFR/Akt signaling pathway, thereby exhibiting tumor-inhibitory effects [18]. In addition, polysaccharides from P. linteus activated the P27kip1-cyclinD1/E-CDK2 pathway and induced S-phase cell cycle arrest in HT-29 cells, resulting in cellular damage [19]. Of the medicinal mushrooms, polyporus (Polyporus umbellatus; Polyporaceae family) is an herbal medicine that possesses diuretic effects, but is also known to suppress TPA-induced inflammation. Screening for the active ingredients of this mushroom resulted in the isolation of insect metamorphosis hormone sterols, and the structures of eight compounds including new compounds polyporoid A (58), polyporoid B (59), and polyporoid C (60) were elucidated (Figure 8.) As shown in Table 6, the effects of these compounds in inhibiting TPA-induced inflammation (ID50) were 117-682 nM/ear, which were greater than that of indomethacin [55].
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Chapter 2
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms as Promising Agents
in Cancer
Ken Yasukawa
Additional information is available at the end of the chapter
http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/59964
1. Introduction
Conquering cancer is one of the major challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. The
advancement of diagnostic techniques has made discovering miniscule tumors feasible, and
early treatment of many types of cancers has consequently become a reality. However, while
the development of anticancer drugs progresses, the number of people diagnosed with cancer
continues to rise. The drug, tamoxifen, has been approved in the US to prevent breast cancer
relapse. In addition, cancer prevention has become an important part of conquering cancer,
with both primary and secondary prevention strategies. The former entails the prevention of
cancer itself, while the latter involves the prevention of death once an individual has already
developed cancer.
Edible mushrooms such as Lentinula edodes (shiitake) and Grifola frondosa (maitake) have been
known from ancient folklore to possess properties that enhance biological defense responses
(immune functions), and have been used in people with decreased immune function such as
those with cancer, allergies and other disorders, and in elderly people. Many of these mush‐
rooms contain compounds called β-glucans, which are high molecular weight polysaccharides
of glucose linked together by glycosidic bonds. β-glucans are contained in mushrooms, yeast,
fungi, and higher plants. In Japan, several mushroom-derived pharmaceutical products have
been developed, and include schizophyllan from Schizophyllum commune, krestin from
Trametes versicolor, and lentinan from L. edodes an anticancer polysaccharide from shiitake. In
South Korea, meshima, a mycelia culture of Phellinus linteus, was developed as an anticancer
drug. Antitumor activities of polysaccharides and peptide polysaccharides in these mush‐
rooms have been reported. In addition to polysaccharides, unique substances such as sterols
and triterpenes are reportedly present in mushrooms. Some of these compounds are promising
anticancer agents. Please refer to a review published elsewhere for a description on herbal
© 2015 The Author(s). Licensee InTech. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution,
and eproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
medicine extracts that have been anticipated for their cancer prevention effects [1]. In this
chapter, we will introduce the anticancer activities of polysaccharides as well as the cancer
prevention activities of sterols and triterpenes.
2. Mushroom-derived anticancer polysaccharides
Research on mushroom-derived β-glucans began when Chihara, Hamuro, and others at the
National Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan isolated and purified lentinan, a β-1,3-
glucan with branched chains formed by β-1,6-glycosidic bonds, from L. edodes in 1968 [2, 3].
Subsequently, many efficacy studies on lentinan, primarily concerning its antitumor activities,
have been reported [4-6]. Ikekawa et al. intraperitoneally administered aqueous extracts of six
types of edible mushrooms, and demonstrated their antitumor effects on cancer cell line
sarcoma S-180 [7].
Upon such discoveries, polysaccharides lentinan and schizophyllan, glycoprotein krestin, and
P. linteus mycelia extract meshima have been utilized as anticancer drugs.
Lentinan (Figure 1) demonstrated an effect to prolong the survival of patients with inoperable
and relapsed stomach cancer in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent in a human
double-blind controlled clinical trial. It has been revealed that its oral consumption, however,
does not exhibit efficacy. In 1985, this compound was approved as an anti-malignant tumor
agent (injectable solution), and has been prescribed to cancer patients as a pharmaceutical
product. Subsequently, the antitumor effects of various mushroom extracts that contain β-
glucan were reported in animal experiments [8]. However, most of these studies administered
mushroom extracts that contain β-glucan to animals via injection, and there are very few
reports that showed its effect via oral consumption. There is, however, one such rare report;
an epidemiological study that suggests mushroom intake via oral consumption may be
effective [9]. Intraperitoneal administration of lentinan suppressed 3-methylcolanthrene-
induced tumor expression [5]. In Lentinula edodes, α-(1,4)-glucan binds with TLR-4, thereby
inducing monocyte differentiation and exhibiting cytotoxic effects in A549 human lung
carcinoma cells [10].
Schizophyllan derived from Schizophyllum commune (Figure 2) is typically structured with β1
→ 3 linkage and on rare occasions with β1 → 6 linkage between D-glucose monomers [11]. Due
to such structure, a rigid triple-helical structure is formed. In addition, this compound is used
in anticancer drugs since it possesses antitumor activities [12]. However, it is administered via
intramuscular injection, and its effects via oral route in the manner of food consumption have
not been elucidated. Although the mechanism of the antitumor activities of β-glucans includ‐
ing schizophyllan is not completely understood, it is thought that they activate macrophages
and natural killer (NK) cells through respective β-glucan receptors, induce a helper T1 cell-
dominant immune response state, and consequently exhibit antitumor activities [13, 14].
Krestin, an anti-malignant tumor agent, is a protein-bound polysaccharide derived from the
mycelia of Trametes versicolor CM-101 strain. Since this drug does not cause serious side effects
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine
40
with oral administration, there was a period of time in which it was used alone after its release
in 1977. However, it is now evident that it has no effect by itself, and is now used in conjunction
with other drugs. Krestin is thought to exhibit its antitumor actions by acting on the immune
response mechanism that has decreased due to a cancer-bearing state. Krestin has a mean
molecular weight of 9.4 × 104, and its sugar chain moiety consists of glucose (74.6%), galactose
(2.7%), mannose (15.5%), xylose (4.8%), and fucose (2.4%), but mostly glucose in the form of
β-glucans. The glucans have main chain β1 → 4 bond, and side chain β1 → 3 and 1 → 6 bond
structures, and it has been suggested that branching occurs per number of sugar residues.
Proteins and sugar chain moeities in Krestin are linked with each other by either O- or N-
glycosidic bond [15]. In addition, coriolan, another antitumor polysaccharide derived from
Trametes versicolor, was reported in 1971 [16].
P. linteus belongs to Hymenochaetaceae family, and is called souou in traditional Japanese
medicine, and has been highly valued since ancient times. It has been referred to as the
"mythical" mushroom since it grows extremely slowly in nature and artificial cultivation is
also difficult. Research in South Korea succeeded in the mass cultivation of P. linteus Yoo
(HKSY-PL2) strain, which has been shown to be more effective than most other strains. P.
O
OH
O
HO OH
OH
O
O
HO
OH
O
O
HO
HO
HO OH
O
OH
OH
O
HO
O
O
O
HO
O
O
OH
O
HO
OH HO
OH
HO
HO
OH
Hn
Figure 1. Structure of lentinan
OOO
HO
OH
O
O
OH
HOO
OH
O
HO
O
HO OH
H H
H
l
mn
Figure 2. Structure of schizophyllan
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms as Promising Agents in Cancer
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41
linteus has properties to enhance the natural healing capability of the body, and was developed
as a pharmaceutical product called meshima. Mycelia culture of P. linteus activated dendritic
cells and macrophages through increased secretions of interleukin 12 (IL-12), interferon
gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) by T-cells, and enhanced the antitumor
effects of NK cells [17]. A proteoglycan generated by P. linteus acted as an immunostimulant
and disrupted the Reg IV/EGFR/Akt signaling pathway, thereby exhibiting tumor-inhibitory
effects [18]. In addition, polysaccharides from P. linteus activated the P27kip1-cyclinD1/E-
CDK2 pathway and induced S-phase cell cycle arrest in HT-29 cells, resulting in cellular
damage [19].
Through their immunostimulatory properties, mushroom-derived polysaccharides and
glycoproteins augment anticancer drugs, alleviate side effects, and contribute greatly to quality
of life (QOL) improvement.
3. Chemical carcinogenesis and two-stage carcinogenesis theory
It has been acknowledged that many types of cancers are caused by environmental carcino‐
genic agents. In 1915, Yamagiwa and Ichikawa succeeded in inducing cancer by rubbing coal
tar on rabbit ears [20]. The significance from this study was the skin cancer had metastasized
to the rabbit lung. In 1941, Berenblum et al. applied carcinogenic agent benz[a]pyrene (B[a]A)
and croton oil (seed oil of Croton tiglium) on mouse skin, and proposed a two-stage carcino‐
genesis theory that tumorigenesis occurs similarly to when B[a]A is applied continually [21,
22]. Specifically, changes due to a carcinogenic agent were termed initiation, and changes due
to croton oil were termed promotion. Later, Hecker reported the cancer-promoting ingredient
of croton oil as 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Many of these experiments are
conducted using initiators 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and TPA [23,24]. Fujiki
et al. later reported on many mouse skin tumor promoters such as teleocidin [25]. Cancer begins
when cells transform into latent cancer cells after undergoing initiation by receiving initiators
or radiation. Subsequently, these cells become cancer cells after a long period of promotion
process by promoters. Finally, after modifications through a process termed progression, the
cells acquire the ability to divide infinitely, thereby clinically morphing to cancer. These steps
occur in a continuous manner, and cannot be strictly distinguished from each other. When
considering primary prevention, it is realistic to suppress the promotion process, which
requires a long period of time and is known to be reversible to some degree. In addition, it has
also become evident that cancer develops via similar mechanisms in many organs. Further‐
more, TPA is known to activate Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Although the prevalence of EBV is
extremely high in Africa, the incidence of Burkitt's lymphoma greatly differs depending on
the village [26]. It has been revealed that villages with greater incidence regularly utilized
Euphorbia tirucalli and phorbol-esters, which are constituents of Euphorbia tirucalli and closely
related to TPA. It is suggested these phorbol-esters are involved in the onset of Burkitt's
lymphoma [27, 28].
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine
42
4. Screening for cancer preventative substances
We are conducting a screening for an antitumor substance using a method in which the
suppressive effect against tumor promoter-induced inflammation is examined as a positive
outcome index [29]. This method was utilized by Hecker et al. when they isolated and identified
TPA and this method has been confirmed to be advantageous with high correlation as it
employs a carcinogenesis experiment and skin from inbred (syngeneic) mice. Specifically,
when TPA is applied on the auricle of female ICR mice, maximum swelling was observed 6-10
hours later. The mushroom extracts suppressed the TPA effects, as seen by swelling inhibition,
and were confirmed by two-stage carcinogenesis experiments on mouse skin. We induced
inflammation with TPA in mice and investigated methanol extracts of 27 edible mushrooms,
8 mushroom supplements, and 3 medicinal mushrooms, discovering the presence of promis‐
ing mushrooms as shown in Table 1. Specifically, inhibitory effects were observed in: Russula
delica, Lactarius deliciosus, Hypsizigus marmoreus (H. marmoreus), Mycoleptodonoides aitchisonii
(M. aitchisonii), Naematoloma sublateritium for edible mushroom; Inonotus obliquus (chaga),
meshima, Ganoderma lucidum (reishi), deer horn shape Ganoderma amboinense (rokkaku reishi),
Pleurotus cornucopiae (golden oyster mushroom) for mushroom supplements; and Poria cocos
(poria) and polyporus as medicinal mushrooms [30]. Of these mushrooms, the application of
methanol extracts of H. marmoreus [31], M. aitchisonii [30], poria [32], chaga [33], and meshima
[34] suppressed the promotion process. These results indicated that edible and medicinal
mushrooms are effective cancer preventing foods. In addition, there is a method in which the
suppressive effect against the EBV activation that is involved in the onset of Burkitt's lym‐
phoma is examined as a positive outcome index [35]. Substances that were confirmed to have
inhibitory effects through this method are thought to contribute to cancer prevention in those
infected with EBV.
Scientific name IR (%)
Polyporus confluens 35**
Russula delica 65**
R. cyanoxantha 38**
R. pseudodelica 41**
R. sanguinea 41**
Lactarius deliciosus 61**
L. volemus 17
Armillariella mellea 12
Flammulina velutipes 30**
Hypsizigus marmoreus 58**
Lyophyllum decastes 54**
L. connatum 53**
L. shimeji 40**
Pleurocybella porrigens 50**
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms as Promising Agents in Cancer
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Scientific name IR (%)
Tricholoma japonicum 49**
T. matsutake 39**
T. portentosum 41**
Lycoperdon perlatum 20*
Agaricus bisporus 36**
Macrolepiota procera 11
Phaeolepiota aurea 15
Sarcodon aspratus 22*
Mycoleptodonoides aitchisonii 62**
Rhodophyllus crassipes 23*
Naematoloma sublateritium 55**
Pholiota squarrosa 33**
Hygrophorus russula 36*
Ganoderma lucidum 82**
Ganoderma amboinense 79**
Polyporus mylittae 33**
Phellinus linteus 73**
Inonotus obliquus 84**
Pleurotus cornucopiae var. citrinopileatus 52**
Hericium erinaceum 19
Sparassis crispa 49**
IR: Inhibitory ratio at 1 mg/ear. * p < 0.05, p < 0.01 vs control group by Student’s t test.
Table 1. Inhibitory effect of edible and medicinal mushrooms on TPA-induced inflammation in mice.
5. Cancer preventative effects of edible mushroom
Figure 3 illustrates the inhibitory effects of M. aitchisonii in mouse skin, two-stage carcinogen‐
esis experiments. Specifically, Figure 3-A indicates the tumor incidence, where the vehicle
control group showed the first tumor appearance in week 5 and tumor development in 93%
of the mice in week 20. In contrast, mice that were given M. aitchisonii (M. aitchisonii group)
showed the first tumor appearance in week 5 and tumor development in 53% of the mice in
week 20. Figure 3-B shows the mean number of tumors at 20 weeks, where M. aitchisonii group
presented 1.6 tumors in contrast to the vehicle control group that exhibited 11.2 tumors,
confirming a 63% inhibitory effect [30]. Methanol extracts of H. marmoreus similarly suppressed
the tumor promotion process [31].
A screening for suppressive ingredients was, therefore, conducted; using inhibitory effects
against TPA-induced inflammation as an index, active ingredients were isolated and their
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine
44
chemical structures were elucidated. The active ingredients were ergosterol (1) and ergosterol
peroxide (2) (Figure 4), which are normal ingredients of mushrooms, and these were stronger
than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin as shown by their 50% inhibitory
effects (ID50: 756 and 467 nM/ear, respectively vs. 908 nM/ear). These two sterols have been
demonstrated to suppress the promotion process in mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis
experiments [31, 36]. Other sterols (6-10) have been reported to inhibit the TPA-induced EBV
activation (Table 2.) [37].
HO 1HO 2
OO
HO R
3-OH
4-OH
5-OMe
HO
6
OOH
HO RHO
7
OH
Figure 4. Structures of sterols from Hypsizigus marmoreus.
Data are expressed as percentage of mice bearing papillomas per mouse (A), and as average number of papillomas per
mouse (B). ●, TPA + with vehicle alone;°, TPA with methanol extract of M. aitchisonii.
Figure 3. Inhibitory effect of the methanol extract from Mycoleptodonoides aitchisonii on the promotion of skin papillo‐
mas by TPA in DMBA-initiated mice [30].
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Compound IC50
Ergosterol (1) 520
Ergosterol peroxide (2) 525
Cerevisterol (3) 518
6-Epicerevisterol (4) 512
22,23-Dihydrocerevisterol (5) 515
6-O-Methylcerevisterol (6) 298
(22E,23R)-5α,6α-Epoxyergosta-8,22-diene-3β,7β-diol (7) 192
β-Carotene 397
IC50: Mol ratio/32 pmol TPA.
Table 2. Inhibitory effects of sterols from Hypsizigus marmoreus on induction of the Epstein-Barr virus early antigen.
6. Cancer preventative effects of mushroom supplements
Mushroom supplements, such as meshima, chaga, and almond mushroom, are all believed to
be beneficial for cancer, and utilized based on the wishes of cancer patients and their families.
As shown in Table 1, supplements including reishi, rokkaku reishi, meshima, and chaga
strongly suppressed TPA-induced inflammation [30]. Methanol extracts of Meshima and
chaga strongly suppressed the promotion process in experiments involving DMBA and TPA
carcinogens [33, 34]. Furthermore, chaga and meshima suppressed the promotion process
through oral administration [38, 39].
Lanostane-type triterpenes depicted in Figure 5 were isolated and identified from chaga, and
these triterpenes are known to show inhibitory effects in TPA-induced EBV activation (Table 3)
[40, 41]. Eight types of lanostane-type triterpenes were isolated as active ingredients, and using
the inhibitory effects against TPA-induced inflammation as an index, their 50% inhibitory effects
(ID50: 125-458 nM/ear) indicated that they are stronger than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drug indomethacin (908 nM/ear) (Tasble 4) [33]. Of these triterpenes, inotodiol (13) and 3β-
Hydroxylanosta-8,24-dien-24-al (15) suppressed the tumor promotion process [40, 41].
Compound IC50
Uvariol (10) 392
3β-Hydroxylanosta-8,24-dien-21-al (12) 232
Lanosta-8,23E-diene-3β,22R,25-triol (14) 231
Lanosta-7:9(11),23E-triene-3β,22R,25-triol (15) 228
Oleanolic acid 389
IC50: Mol ratio/32 pmol/TPA.
Table 3. Inhibitory effects of lanostane-type triterpenes from Inonotus obliquus on induction of the Epstein-Barr virus
early antigen.
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine46
R1R2R3R4
8: H H Me H
9: H H Me H
10: H H Me OH
11: H H CH2OH H
12: H H COOH H
13: H H CHO H
14: OMe OH Me OH
R3R4
HO
R2
HO
OH
OH
15 HO
OH
OH
16
HO 17
OOH
HO 18
OOH
HO 19
O
O
R1
Figure 5. Structures of lanostane-type triterpenes from Inonotus obliquus.
Compound ID50 (nM/ear)
Lanosterol (8) 458
Inotodiol (9) 125
Uvariol (10) 134
3β-Hydroxylanosta-8,24-dien-21-al (12) 389
Methoxyinonotsutriol (14) 272
3β,22-Dihydroxylanosta-7,9(11),24-triene (16) 335
Inotolacton B (19) 265
Indomethacin 908
ID50: 50% Inhibitory dose.
Table 4. Inhibitory effects of lanostane-type triterpenes from Inonotus obliquus on TPA-induced inflammation in mice.
Reishi belongs to the Ganodermataceae family, and is cut into appropriate sizes to be brewed in
hot water and consumed as an extract since the fruiting body is woody and not suitable for
direct consumption, or is consumed as medicinal alcohol. It has been described in Shennong
Ben Cao Jing (or The Classic of Herbal Medicine) compiled in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220),
as a life-prolonging miracle drug that nourishes life, and since then, it has been used for various
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medicinal purposes in China. Akihisa et al. isolated multiple lanostane-type triterpene acids
from its fruiting body, and reported that they suppress EBV activation as shown in Table 5
[42-44]. Of these compounds 20-Hydroxylucidenic acid N (21) suppressed the promotion
process in mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis [42]. With regards to triterpenes from reishi,
ganoderic acid T (49) exhibited anticancer activities by inducing apoptosis in metastatic lung
cancer cells mediated through mitochondria dysfunction and p53 expression [45]. In addition,
ganoderic acid T (49) suppressed the nuclear translocation of NF-κB and expression of MMP-9
and iNOS, thereby inhibiting invasion by cancer cells [46]. Ganoderic acid DM (46) displayed
anticancer activities by inducing G1-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in MCF-7 cancer cells
[47]. Ganoderic acid A (44) and ganoderic acid H (42) suppressed breast cancer cell invasion
by inhibiting AP-1 and NF-κB and consequently down-regulating Cdk4 expression [48].
Ganoderic acid Me (48) inhibited tumor invasion by suppressing MMP2/9 expressions [49].
Lucidenic acid B (26) exhibited anti-invasive activity through suppressing TPA-induced NF-
κB and AP-1 DNA-binding activities thereby downregulating MMP-9 expression in HepG(2)
cells [50]. Lucidenic acid B (26) induced apoptosis through mitochondrial cytochrome release
and the activations of caspase-9 and caspase-3 [51].
Compound IC50
Lucidenic acid F (20) 352
Methyl lucidenate F (21) 285
Lucidenic acid D2 (22) 287
Methyl l ucidenic acid D2 (23) 290
Lucidenic acid A (24) 280
Methyl l ucidenate A (25) 287
Lucidenic acid B (26) 354
Methyl lucidenate Q (27) 283
Methyl lucidenate L (28) 275
Lucidenic acid E2 (29) 280
Methyl l ucidenate E2 (30) 288
Lucidenic acid N (31) 332
Methyl l ucidenate C (32) 331
Lucidenic acid P (33) 286
Methyl l ucidenate P (34) 293
20-Hydroxy lucidenic acid F (35) 339
20-Hydroxy lucidenic acid D2 (36) 350
20-Hydroxy lucidenic acid E2 (37) 290
20-Hydroxy lucidenic acid N (38) 288
20-Hydroxy lucidenic acid P (39) 288
20(21)-Dehydrolucidenic acid A (40) 350
Methyl 20(21)-dehydrolucidenate A (41) 357
Ganoderic acid F (42) 293
Ganoderic acid C1 (43) 336
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine48
Compound IC50
Ganoderic acid A (44) 291
Ganoderic acid C2 (45) 290
Ganoderic acid DM (46) 352
Ganoderic acid T-Q (47) 281
Ganodermanondiol (50) 348
Ganolactone (51) 415
Ganoderic acid E (52) 281
Methyl ganoderate F (53) 289
IC50: Mol ratio/32 pmol TPA.
Table 5. Inhibitory effects of lanostane-type triterpene acids from Ganoderma lucidum on induction of the Epstein-Barr
virus early antigen.
R1
R1R2R3R4R5
20: O O O H H
21: O O O H Me
22: O O O OAc H
23: O O O OAc Me
24: O -OH O H H
25: O -OH O H Me
26: O -OH O OH H
27: O -OH OH H Me
28:-OH O O OH Me
29:-OH O O OAc H
30:-OH O O OAc Me
31:-OH -OH O H H
32:-OH -OH O OH H
33:-OH -OH O OAc H
34:-OH -OH O OAc Me
O
R2
R3
COOR5
R4
O
O
COOH
OH
O
R2
R3
R4
O
COOH
R1R2R3R4
42: O O O OAc
43: O -OH O H
44: O -OH -OH H
45:-OH -OH -OH H
O
COOH
O46
COOH
R1R2R3
47: O OAc H
48: OAc H OA c
49: OAc OAc OAc
R2
R1R2
R3
R1R2R3
35: O O H
36: O O OAc
37:-OH O -OH
38:-OH -OH H
39:-OH -OH OAc
O
O
COOR1
R1
40: H
41: Me
OOH
R1
O50
OH
OH O
O
O OH
O
O
51
R1
R3
Figure 6. Structures of lanostane-type triterpene acids from Ganoderma lucidum.
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49
Piptoporus betulinus is a fungus in the Polyporaceae family and the surface of its fruiting body
had been used as a strop for razor blades. It is known that the Iceman, as evidenced by a
mummy from 5,000 years ago found in the Tyrol region glacier, carried around this mushroom
to prevent wound suppuration [52, 53]. Lanostane-type triterpenes (Figure 7) isolated from
this mushroom suppressed TPA-induced inflammation [54].
R1R2R3
52: H Me H
53: H Me COCH2COOH
54: H Me A
55: H Me B
56: H CH2OH C
R2
COOR3
R1OO57
OH OH
HOOC
O O
OH
OH
O O
OMe
OH
O O
OH
OH
S
S
A:
B:
C:
Figure 7. Structures of lanostane-type triterpenes from Piptoporus betulinus.
7. Cancer preventative effects and active ingredients of medicinal
mushrooms
Of the medicinal mushrooms, polyporus (Polyporus umbellatus; Polyporaceae family) is an herbal
medicine that possesses diuretic effects, but is also known to suppress TPA-induced inflam‐
mation. Screening for the active ingredients of this mushroom resulted in the isolation of insect
metamorphosis hormone sterols, and the structures of eight compounds including new
compounds polyporoid A (58), polyporoid B (59), and polyporoid C (60) were elucidated
(Figure 8.) As shown in Table 6, the effects of these compounds in inhibiting TPA-induced
inflammation (ID50) were 117-682 nM/ear, which were greater than that of indomethacin [55].
The sclerotia of Poria cocos (Polyporaceae family) are referred to as poria, and due to their diuretic
properties, and they are formulated in traditional Japanese medicine prescriptions. Addition‐
ally, they are also commonly formulated in traditional Japanese medicine prescriptions that
are used as adjuvants. The oral administration of Juzentaiho-to and Rikkunshi-to, Japanese
Kampo medicines, suppressed cancer promotion in mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis
experiments [56, 57]. It has been shown that, for an effect to appear, the immune response that
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine
50
is decreased during carcinogenic process be activated [57]. Of the formulated ingredients in
these prescriptions, hoelen showed the strongest effect in suppressing TPA-induced inflam‐
mation [58]. A screening for the active ingredients of hoelen was therefore conducted, and
multiple lanostane-type triterpene acids were isolated and identified (Figure 9) [32]. Of the
poria-derived triterpenes, pachymic acid (71), 3-O-acetyl-16α-hydroxytrametenolic acid (70),
dehydropachymic acid (79), 3β-hydroxylanosta-7,9(11),24-trien-21-oic acid (75), dehydroebu‐
liconic acid (81), and poricoic acids A (97) and B (94) had inhibitory effects against TPA-induced
inflammation (ID50: 31-83 nM/ear), that were greater than that of indomethacin but similar to
that of hydrocortisone (ID50: 69 nM/ear). With regards to pachymic acid (71), 3-O-acetyl-16α-
HO
HO OHH
O
HHO
HO OHH
O
H
R1
R2
OH
O
OH
HO
HO
HO OHH
O
H
OH
OH
O
R3
R1R2R3
58: OH OH H
59: H OH H
60: H O O
HO
HO OHH
O
H
OH
R
R
63: OH
64: HHO
HO HH
HOH
61 62
65
Figure 8. Structures of ecdysteroids from Polyporus umbellatus.
Compound ID50 (nM/ear)
Polyporoid A (58) 531
Polyporoid B (59) 682
Polyporoid C (60) 184
Polyporusterone A (61) 141
Polyporusterone C (62) 289
Polyporusterone B (63) 117
Polyporusterone G (64) 207
Ergosta-7,22-diene-3β,5α,6β-triol (65) 666
Indomethacin 838
ID50: 50% Inhibitory dose.
Table 6. Inhibitory effect of ecdysterolids from Polyporus umbellatus on TPA-induced inflammation in mice.
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hydroxytrametenolic acid (70), and poricoic acid B (94), all of which showed strong inhibitory
effects, a mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis experiment using DMBA and TPA demon‐
strated that they exhibited suppressive effects that were similar to that of the aforementioned
ergosterol (1), ergosterol peroxide (2) and other triterpenes, even when 10% of the dosage of
the latter compounds were administered [59]. These compounds have a carboxyl group
(COOH) at the carbon 21 position (on side chain), and their suppressive effects decreased 90%
when the COOH-group was methylated. It was discovered that COOH at the carbon 21
position plays an important role for activation [32]. Akihisa et al. isolated many new lanostane-
type triterpene acids from poria, and reported their suppressive effects in TPA-induced EBV
activation (Table 8) [60-62]. Moreover, they confirmed that 16-deoxyporicoic acid B (93),
poricoic acid C (95), and 25-methoxyporicoic acid A (102) suppress the promotion process [60,
61]. Of these compounds, poricotriol A was revealed to induce apoptosis and possess antitu‐
mor effects [63]. Pachymic acid and dehydrotumulosic acid strongly suppress PL-A2, which is
related to inflammation [64].
Compound ID50 (nM/ear)
24-Dihydrolanosterol (66) 501
Lanosterol (67) 469
Tumulosic acid (69) 440
3-O-Acetyl-16α-hydroxytrametenoic acid (70) 31.1
Pachymic acid (71) 83.2
3β-Hydroxylanosta-7,9(11),24-trien-21-oic acid (75) 59.4
Dehydropachymic acid (79) 38.0
Dehydroeburiconic acid (81) 57.9
Polyporenic acid C (82) 201
3-Epidehydrotumulosic acid (84) 188
Poricoic acid B (94) 35.1
Poricoic acid A (97) 56.1
Poricoic acid AM (98) 148
Poricoic acid D (100) 243
Indomethacin 908
Hydrocortisone 68.9
ID50: 50% Inhibitory dose.
Table 7. Inhibitory effect of lanostane-type triterpene acids from Poria cocos on TPA-induced inflammation in mice.
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine52
R1R2R3
66: a OH H
67: b OH H
68: e OH H
69: e OH OH
70: c OAc OH
71: e OAc OH
R1
R3
HOOC
c
HOOC
dOH
HOOC
e
HOOC
fOHHOOC
gOMe
HOOC
hOH
OH
R2
R1
72: d
73: f
R1
OH
OR1
74: f
R1
OH
HO
R1R2R3R4
75: c OH H H
76: e OH H H
77: e OH OH H
78: e OH OH OH
79: e OAc OH H
R1
R3
R2
R4R1R2
80: c H
81: e H
82: e OH
83: f OH
R1
R2
O
R1
84: e
85: d
86: f
R1
OH
HO
R1
87: e
R1
OH
HO
OO
R1R2
88: c H
89: c Me
90: e H
91: e Me
92: f H
R1
OH
R2OOC
R1R2R3
93: c H H
94: c H OH
95: e H H
96: e H OH
97: e Me H
98: e Me OH
99: f H H
100: f H OH
101: f Me OH
102: g H OH
103: h Me OH
R1
R3
R2OOC
R1
OH
HOOC
R1
104: e
ab
Figure 9. Structures of lanostane-type triterpene acids from Poria cocos.
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms as Promising Agents in Cancer
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Compound IC50
Eburicoic acid (68) 465
Pachymic acid (71) 286
16α-Hydroxyeburiconic acid (72) 348
16α,25-Dihydroxyeburiconic acid (73) 299
25-Hydroxy-3-epitumulosic acid (74) 238
3-Epidehydrotrametnolic acid (75) 464
Dehydroebricoic acid (76) 460
15α-Hydroxydehydrotumulosic acid (78) 268
Dehydropachymic acid (79) 284
Dehydrotrametenonic acid (80) 310
Dehydroebriconic acid (81) 405
16α,25-Dihydroxydehydroeburiconic acid (83) 340
16α,27-Dihydroxydehydrotrametenoic acid (85) 269
5α,8α-Peroxydehydrotumulosic acid (87) 202
Poricoic acid HM (91) 219
25-Hydroxyporicoic acid H (92) 202
16-Deoxyporicoic acid B (93) 262
Poricoic acid C (95) 273
Poricoic acid CM (96) 332
Poricoic acid AM (98) 195
25-Hydroxyporicoic acid C (99) 201
Poricoic acid D (100) 198
Poricoic acid DM (101) 207
25-Methoxyporicoic acid A (102) 268
26-Hydroxyporicoic acid DM (103) 187
6,7-Dehydroporicoic acid H (104) 193
β-Carotene 397
IC50: Mol ratio/32 pmol TPA.
Table 8. Inhibitory effects of lanostane-type triterpene acids from Poria cocos on induction of the Epstein-Barr virus
early antigen.
8. Conclusion
Mushroom polysaccharides and glycoproteins have antitumor mechanisms such as activating
various immunocompetent cells and reinforcing the tumor aggressiveness of the host. Many
mushroom-derived polysaccharides have very weak effects when administered orally.
Drug Discovery and Development - From Molecules to Medicine
54
However, with the advancement in food technology, the development of these polysacchar‐
ides as food products is progressing and their development as oral pharmaceutical products
is also anticipated.
Poria and reishi are listed in the first treatise of Shennong Ben Cao Jing, and viewed as herbal
medicines that help maintain health. Although some mushroom triterpenoids show strong
suppressive effects similar to that of hydrocortisone, most result in a moderate antitumour
promotor effect. It is expected that these triterpenoids, such as pachymic acid, may inhibit
phospholipase A2. Nonetheless, since these mushrooms are edible and are used as supple‐
ments and herbal medicines, they are considered to have extremely low or no toxicity.
Therefore, these triterpenoids from poria and reishi are a promising group of compounds. In
particular, pachymic acid, ganoderic acid T, and lucidenic acid B, are leads in the search for
cancer prevention drugs; the development of cancer prevention drugs with properties akin to
tamoxifen is desired. When developing a preventative drug, the safety of the substance must
first and foremost be considered.
There are many other challenges, such as further elucidating the mechanism, ascertaining the
appropriate intake level, and supplying large amounts of the compound. The cooperation and
collaboration of researchers from various fields will be necessary to address these issues.
Acknowledgements
Dr. Michio Takido, my mentor and professor emeritus at School of Pharmacy, Nihon Univer‐
sity, passed away on August 25, 2014. My research and attitude towards this research were
greatly influenced by his guidance. This article is dedicated to Dr Takido with profound
gratitude.
Author details
Ken Yasukawa
Address all correspondence to: yasukawa.ken@nihon-u.ac.jp, yasukawa.ken@nihon-.ne.jp
School of Pharmacy, Nihon University, Funabashi, Chiba, Japan
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... In the field of public health, treatment of cancers is one of the most important problems at present. We have isolated and identified numerous compounds for cancer prevention from numerous plants and fungi [1,2]. Among these, we have prepared several reports on triterpenes [3,4]. ...
... Active components (1)(2)(3)(4)(5) were then isolated from the active fractions of the methanol extract. The isolated compounds showed inhibitory activity against TPA-induced ear inflammatory edema. ...
Article
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... The extracts obtained from the fruiting bodies of M. procera showed an inhibitory effect on inflammation, but it was very small. At the same time, these extracts were not very effective in preventing the formation of neoplastic changes compared to other species included in the research [155]. ...
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Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) is a fungus that is often included in the menu of people looking for replacements for meat products and at the same time appreciating mushrooms. Its fruiting bodies are known for their delicate flavor and aroma. The aim of the publication was to analyze the latest information (mainly from 2015 to 2021) on the chemical composition of the M. procera fruiting bodies and their antioxidant properties. The data on other health-promoting properties and the possibilities of using these mushrooms in medicine were also compiled and summarized, taking into account their antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, regulatory, antidepressant, and anticancer effects. Moreover, the influence of various forms of processing and conservation of raw mushroom on its health-promoting properties was discussed. The possibilities of controlling the quality of both the raw material and the prepared dishes were also discussed. Such an opportunity is offered by the possibility of modifying the growing conditions, in particular, the appropriate selection of the substrate for mushroom cultivation and the deliberate enrichment of its composition with the selected substances, which will then be incorporated into the fungus organism.
... Skin tumour are induced by administration of carcinogens such as 7,12dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA), followed by repeated administration of tumour promoters such as 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) [1,2]. Our previous studies have confirmed that constituents from natural sources, such as medicinal plants and fungi, inhibit tumour promotion by TPA in two-stage carcinogenesis in mouse skin [3][4][5][6]. Many tumour promoters have inflammatory activity [7], and based on our previous experience, we therefore focused on natural sources to screen for novel inhibitors as preventive agents. ...
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Cancer prevention by supplements offers the most cost-effective long-term health strategy. Methanol extracts from the aerial parts of Epimedium koreanum were previously found to inhibit 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced inflammatory ear oedema and tumour promotion by TPA in the two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis model. Four prenyl flavonol glycosides (1-4) were isolated from the active fraction of this extract, and were identified. The isolated compounds showed inhibitory activity against TPA-induced ear inflammatory ear oedema. The 50% inhibitory dose (ID50) of icariin (1), epimedin A (2), epimedin B (3) and epimedin C (4) for TPA-induced inflammation ranged from 114 to 255 nmol/ear, suggesting greater potency than indomethacin (ID50: 908 nmol/ear), an antiinflammatory drug. Thus, the epimedium herb may be useful in cancer prevention.
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The methanol extract from the sclerotium of Poria cocos was found to inhibit 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced tumour promotion in two-stage carcinogenesis in mouse skin. From the active fraction of the extract, eight lanostane-type triterpene acids and four 3,4-secolanostane-type triterpene acids were isolated. The isolated compounds showed inhibitory activity against TPA-induced ear inflammatory oedema. The 50% inhibitory dose of pachymic acid, 3-O-acetyl-16α-hydroxytrametenolic acid, dehydropachymic acid, dehydroeburiconic acid, 3β-hydroxylanosta-7,9(11),24-trien-21-oic acid, poricoic acid A and poricoic acid B for TPA-induced inflammation was 17–44 μg/ear, at a grade corresponding to that of hydrocortisone.
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