• Kevin Engholdt, Founder

Ganoderma mushroom as effective as cisplatin chemotherapy for colon cancer?

Updated: Aug 28

Another remarkable study with one of our favorite mushrooms, ganoderma lucidum (aka "Reishi" mushroom), that is already in our Infinimin® and Dragon Roast® Coffee brands!!

Reader beware, technical content ahead ... if you don't understand something, feel free to look it up - learning is power.

Although previous studies have found that Ganoderma lucidum extracts have the ability to directly resist tumor proliferation and reduce metastasis and invasion, the effect of the extracts of Ganoderma lucidum fruiting body (going forward, known referenced as GLE) on cancer is not clarified. The referenced study intends to investigate the anticancer role of GLE on HCT116 colorectal cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The effects of GLE on the proliferation, apoptosis (cancer cell death), autophagy and cell cycle arrest of HCT116 cells were detected by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8), flow cytometry, electron microscope, quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot assay. Fancy words for different ways to see cancer cell death and healthy cell life.

Xenografted mouse models were used to evaluate the tumor growth inhibition effect of GLE in vivo. GLE could significantly inhibit the viability of four tumor cell lines (A549, SW1990, SKOV3 and HCT116) and HCT116 cells were more sensitive to GLE treatment with a half inhibitory concentration of 106 μg/mL. GLE treatment induced apoptosis of HCT116 cells by downregulating of the ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax and increasing cleaved caspase-3 and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) protein expression. Autophagy of HCT116 cells also increased after GLE treatment, as shown by observation of autophagosomes formation and altered protein expressions in the mTOR pathway. In addition, GLE treatment led to G0/G1 cell cycle arrest as evidenced by flow cytometry analysis and changes in cell-cycle-related gene expressions at the mRNA levels. Of note, in vivo evaluation indicated that GLE significantly inhibited tumor weight and tumor volume and decreased Ki67 expression.

The impact of GLE on the HCT116 cells was first evaluated by Annexin V/PI staining. As shown in Figure 2, the percentage of the apoptotic HCT116 cells increased with the increase time and concentration of GLE. Moreover, the apoptosis was further confirmed by the decreased ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax on both the mRNA and protein levels (Figure 3). The apoptosis-inducing effect was partly through the caspase-3 pathway, as evidenced by increased cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP and decreased total PARP protein expression without impact on pro-caspase-3 protein expression (Figure 3). Cisplatin might promote apoptosis of HCT116 cells by increasing the expression of total and cleaved caspase-3 and PARP (Figure 3). Furthermore, GLE and cisplatin also triggered the formation of autophagosomes in the HCTT16 cells, indicative of autophagy (Figure 3C). To confirm autophagy, the expression of autophagy-associated proteins was examined. The results showed that GLE caused an upsurge of Beclin-1 and the ratio of LC3B to LC3A (Figure 3D) and decreased p-mTOR but increased atg5 and total mTOR protein expre- ssion (Figure 3D). The data indicated that the autophagy- induced effect of GLE was partly through the mTOR pathway.

A lot of work to figure out 1) GLE kills cancer cells and keeps healthy cells and 2) as effective as well known cisplatin chemotherapy.

Considering the above, the researchers sought to examine the anticancer effects of GLE in vivo in xenografted mice models. The results showed that the tumor weight and volume were significantly inhibited by cisplatin and GLE at the dosage of 10 and 100 mg/kg respectively (Figure 5). Moreover, cisplatin and GLE treatment also decreased the expression of Ki67 compared with the control group (Figure 5D and 5E). In addition, consistent with the previous results, GLE treatment also decreased the ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax and changed the expressions of cell cycle arrest-related genes on the mRNA level

(Figure 6).

Again, lot of work to figure out 1) GLE kills cancer cells and keeps healthy cells and 2) as effective as well known cisplatin chemotherapy.

In summary, Ganoderm lucidum (aka "Reishi" mushroom, refernced in this study as "GLE") has the potential to be developed as an anticancer agent against colorectal cancer, and further evaluation is needed.

Cheers to your health,

Infinitum Health Team


Xinghan Liu , et. al. Ganoderma lucidum fruiting body extracts inhibit colorectal cancer by inducing apoptosis, autophagy, and G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest in vitro and in vivo. Am J Transl Res 2020;12(6):2675-2684 /ISSN:1943-8141/AJTR0105091

(pdf file attached below for reviewing)

Ganoderma lucidum fruiting body extracts
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Ganoderma lucidum fruiting body extracts
Download • 1.55MB

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