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For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Phellinus linteus, a medicinal mushroom, showed anticancer effects in lab studies. Clinical trials are needed to establish its anticancer potential.
P. linteus is a medicinal mushroom used in traditional medicine in Asia. Compounds present in this mushroom have been shown in the lab to have anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. However, evidence in humans is very limited. There is one study that suggests it maybe helpful as an add-on treatment in some pancreatic cancer patients. Well-designed trials are needed to confirm these effects.
- To inhibit tumor growthP. linteus has been shown in some lab studies to inhibit tumor growth. One study in pancreatic cancer patients suggest it may be helpful as an add-on therapy. There are also a few cases of regression of liver and prostate cancers. Well-designed studies are needed to confirm such effects.
For Healthcare Professionals
Phellinus linteus (PL) is a yellow, bitter-tasting mushroom that grows on mulberry trees. It is used in traditional medicine in Asia where it is often mixed with other medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi and Maitake, and promoted as an adjunctive treatment during cancer therapy. It also has traditional applications in the treatment of hemorrhage, hemostasis, and menstrual disorders (27).
The polysaccharide-protein complexes found in PL were shown to have immunomodulating effects (1). In animal models, the polyphenolic constituent demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect against injury and other syndromes involving infarcts, hematomas or hemorrhages (2) (3). Other constituents, such as interfungins A, help prevent protein modification in hyperglycemic state, and may benefit diabetics (4).
PL extracts have exhibited anticancer effects in a variety of human cancer cell lines (28). In vitro and animal studies suggest that it has antiangiogenic, antioxidant, and xanthine oxidase inhibition properties (5). Anticancer effects against breast (6) (7) (8), colon (9) (10) (30), liver (11), lung (12) (13), oral (14), prostate (15) (16) (17), and skin cancers (1) (18) (19) have also been reported. In addition, PL and its constituents have exhibited chemosensitizing effects in pancreatic and colon cancer cells (29) (31).
In a study of pancreatic cancer patients, PL appeared to improve outcomes in part by improving adherence to adjuvant chemotherapy (32). There are also a few case reports of tumor regression following consumption of PL (11) (20) (21). However, well-designed trials are needed to confirm these effects.
Mechanism of Action
Polysaccharide-protein complexes found in PL have immunomodulating (1), antiangiogenic, antioxidant and xanthine oxidase inhibition effects (5). Additionally, the furopyranone compounds inhibit protein glycation, which may aid in treatment and prevention of diabetic complications (4) (23). In non-obese diabetic mice, a PL-polysaccharide extract enhanced function of macrophages, as well as dendritic, NK, T, and B cells, and prevented inflammation by inhibiting IFNγ, IL2, and TNFα via TH1 cells and macrophages. It also upregulated IL4 expression in TH2 cells (23).
Anti-inflammatory activities of inotilone, a compound isolated from PL might be due to reduced levels of malondialdehyde, inducible nitric oxide synthase, COX2, NFκB, and MMP9, as well as increased activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase via TNFα and NO suppression (25).
Hispidin, a phenolic compound present in PL, was shown to protect against peroxynitrite-mediated cytotoxicity, DNA damage and hydroxyl radical formation (26). PL also inhibited proliferation in human colon cancer cells via decreased Bcl2 and cyclin B1 and increased cytochrome C (9). Another study similarly found that a PL extract induced G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human colon carcinoma HT29 cells via p21(C1P1/WAF1) upregulation, cyclin D1 downregulation, Bcl2 downregulation, release of cytochrome C, and activation of caspases 9, 3, and 8 (10). Decreased cyclin-dependent kinases CDK2, 4, and 6, and dose-dependent apoptosis of lung cancer cells after treatment with PL were also observed (12).