Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) vs. cancer

The mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (G. lucidum) has been used for centuries in Asian countries to treat various diseases and to promote health and longevity. Clinical studies have shown beneficial effects of G. lucidum as an alternative adjuvant therapy in cancer patients without obvious toxicity. G. lucidum polysaccharides (GLP) is the main bioactive component in the water soluble extracts of this mushroom. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies has demonstrated that GLP possesses potential anticancer activity through immunomodulatory, anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic effects. Here, we briefly summarize these anticancer effects of GLP and the underlying mechanisms.


Consumption of reishi mushroom has been reported to prevent colon carcinogenesis in rodents, although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. To investigate this effect, rats were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 5% water extract from either the reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lingzhi) (WGL) or the auto-digested reishi G. lingzhi (AWGL) for three weeks. Both extracts markedly reduced fecal secondary bile acids, such as lithocholic acid and deoxycholic acid (colon carcinogens). These extracts reduced the numbers of Clostridium coccoides and Clostridium leptum (secondary bile acids-producing bacteria) in a per g of cecal digesta. Fecal mucins and cecal propionate were significantly elevated by both extracts, and fecal IgA was significantly elevated by WGL, but not by AWGL. These results suggest that the reishi extracts have an impact on colon luminal health by modulating secondary bile acids, microflora, mucins, and propionate that related to colon cancer.


The medical mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), a traditional Chinese medicine, has exhibited a promising anti-cancer effect. However, the molecular mechanism of its action on cancer cells remains unclear. Aberrant activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is the cause of many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Here we investigated the effect of Reishi on Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and elucidated the molecular mechanism of its function in inhibiting breast cancer cells. We found that Reishi blocked Wnt/β-catenin signaling through inhibiting the phosphorylation of Wnt co-receptor LRP6. In human (MDA-MB-231) and mouse (4T1) breast cancer cell lines, Reishi significantly decreased the phosphorylation of LRP6 and suppressed Wnt3a-activated Wnt target gene Axin2 expression. Administration of Reishi inhibited Wnt-induced hyper-proliferation of breast cancer cells and MDA-MB-231 cell migration. Our results provide evidence that Reishi suppresses breast cancer cell growth and migration through inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling, indicating that Reishi may be a potential natural inhibitor for breast cancer.


The present study investigated the anticancer effects and potential mechanisms of BSGLWE on colorectal cancer in vivo and in vitro. Our results showed that BSGLWE significantly inhibited colorectal cancer HCT116 cell viability in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry analysis indicated that BSGLWE disrupted cell cycle progression at G2/M phase via downregulation of cyclin B1 and cyclin A2, and upregulation of P21 at mRNA levels. Moreover, BSGLWE induced apoptosis by decreasing Bcl-2 and survivin at mRNA levels, and reduced Bcl-2, PARP, pro-caspase-3 and pro-caspase-9 at protein levels. Furthermore, BSGLWE suppressed tumor growth in vivo by regulating the expression of genes and proteins associated with cell cycle and apoptosis, which was further confirmed by a reduction of Ki67, PCNA, and Bcl-2 expression as determined by immunohistochemistry staining. NSAID activated gene-1 (NAG-1), a pro-apoptotic gene, was significantly upregulated in vivo and in vitro upon BSGLWE treatment at both mRNA and protein levels. In addition, the relative amounts of secreted NAG-1 in cell culture medium or serum of nude mice were all upregulated upon BSGLWE treatments, suggesting a role of NAG-1 in BSGLWE-induced anticolorectal cancer activity. This is the first study to show that BSGLWE inhibits colorectal cancer carcinogenesis through regulating genes responsible for cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis cascades. These findings indicate that BSGLWE possesses chemopreventive potential in colorectal cancer which may serve as a promising anticancer agent for clinical applications.


The aim of this study is to investigate the anti-inflammatory, anticancer and anti-metastatic activities of Ganoderma lucidum extracts in melanoma and triple-negative breast cancer cells. Ganoderma lucidum extracts were prepared by using common organic solvents; MDA-MB 231 and B16-F10 cell lines were adopted as cellular models for triple-negative breast cancer and melanoma and characterized for cell viability, wound-healing assay and measurement of cytokines secreted by cancer cells under pro-inflammatory conditions (incubation with lipopolysaccharide, LPS) and pretreatment with Ganoderma lucidum extract at different concentrations. Our study demonstrates, for the first time, how Ganoderma lucidum extracts can significantly inhibit the release of IL-8, IL-6, MMP-2 and MMP-9 in cancer cells under pro-inflammatory condition. Interestingly, Ganoderma lucidum extracts significantly also decrease the viability of both cancer cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, with abilities to reduce cell migration over time, which is correlated with a lower release of matrix metalloproteases. Taken together, these results indicate the possible use of Ganoderma lucidum extract for the therapeutic management of melanoma and human triple-negative breast cancer.


G. lucidum polysaccharides – mainly β-glucans and heteroglycans – have numerous biological properties such as antitumour and immunomodulatory activities. This report shows, by gene expression analyses and bioenergetic assays, immunomodulatory properties and capacity to improve glucose metabolism of a water-soluble heteroglycan extracted from mycelium of an Italian isolate of G. lucidum. The findings suggest the use of the heteroglycan as probiotic or ingredient in functional foods, being easy to produce and disperse in a food matrix thanks to its water-solubility. Heteroglycan could exert protective effects in pro-inflammatory conditions and benefits for people characterised by suppressed immune response.