Liver Cancer

Nanba et al reported that 7 of 12 patients with liver cancer responded to a combination of Grifola frondosa fruiting body (4-6g/day) and purified polysaccharide extract (MD fraction – 40-150mg/day)1.

Studies using implanted sarcoma 180 as a model for liver cancer have shown rates of tumour inhibition of 52.8%, 56.6% and 51.9% when given polysaccharide extracts of Flammulina velutipes, Lentinula edodes and Agaricus subrufescens respectively2 and a 71.6% increase in lifespan of tumour-bearing mice with Polyporus umbellatus polysaccharide extract (i.p.) on its own and a 119.9% increase when given in conjunction with mitomycin C3.

Several in vitro studies using Ganoderma lucidum and G. lucidum triterpenes have demonstrated cell growth inhibition and anti-invasive effects by multiple mechanisms including suppression of protein kinase C, activation of protein kinases, G2-phase cell cycle arrest, inactivation of MAPK/ERK signal transduction pathway and inhibition of the binding activities of NF-kB and AP-14-9. In a human tumour xenograft model, a doseresponse inhibition was also observed in the average size, volume, and weight of tumours upon oral administration of G. lucidum extract10.

Taiwanofungus camphoratus, syn.: Antrodia camphorata has traditionally been used in the treatment of liver cancer in Taiwan. In vitro studies confirm its apoptotic effects on human liver cancer cell lines and a number of promising cases have been reported combining it with conventional treatment in cases of advanced liver cancer11,12.

Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Pleurotus ostreatus and Inonotus obliquus have all shown in vitro efficacy against liver cancer cell lines13-15.


1. Maitake D-fraction: healing and preventive potential for cancer. Nanba H. J Orthomolecular Med. 1997;12(1):43–49.

2. Inhibitory activity of polysaccharide extracts from three kinds of edible fungi on proliferation of human hepatoma SMMC- 7721 cell and mouse implanted S180 tumour. Jiang SM, Xiao ZM, Xu ZH. World J Gastroenterol. 1999;5(5):404–407.

3. Combined effects of chuling (Polyporus umbellatus) extract and mitomycin C on experimental liver cancer. You JS, Hau DM, Chen KT, Huang HF. Am J Chin Med. 1994;22(1):19–28.

4. Triterpene-enriched extracts from Ganoderma lucidum inhibit growth of hepatoma cells via suppressing protein kinase C, activating mitogen-activated protein kinases and G2-phase cell cycle arrest. Lin SB, Li CH, Lee SS, Kan LS. Life Sci. 2003;72(21):2381–2390.

5. Ganoderic acid produced from submerged culture of Ganoderma lucidum induces cell cycle arrest and cytotoxicity in human hepatoma cell line BEL7402. Yang HL. Biotechnol Lett. 2005;27(12):835–838.

6. Antitumour activity of the sporoderm-broken germinating spores of Ganoderma lucidum. Liu X, Yuan JP, Chung CK, Chen XJ. Cancer Lett. 2002;182(2):155–161.

7. Ganoderiol F, a Ganoderma triterpene, induces senescence in hepatoma HepG2 cells. Chang UM, Li CH, Lin LI, Huang CP, Kan LS, Lin SB. Life Sci. 2006;79(12):1129–1139.

8. The anti-invasive effect of lucidenic acids isolated from a new Ganoderma lucidum strain. Weng CJ, Chau CF, Chen KD, Chen DH, Yen GC. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007;51(12):1472–1477.

9. Lucidenic acid inhibits PMA-induced invasion of human hepatoma cells through inactivating MAPK/ERK signal transduction pathway and reducing binding activities of NFkappaB and AP-1. Weng CJ, Chau CF, Hsieh YS, Yang SF, Yen GC. Carcinogenesis. 2008;29(1):147–156.

10. Inhibitory effects of Ganoderma lucidum on tumourigenesis and metastasis of human hepatoma cells in cells and animal models. Weng .J, Chau CF, Yen GC, Liao JW, Chen DH, Chen KD. J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57(11):5049–5057.

11. Apoptotic effects of extract from Antrodia camphorata fruiting bodies in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. Hsu YL, Kuo YC, Kuo PL, Ng LT, Kuo YH, Lin C. Cancer Lett. 2005;221(1):77–89.

12. Niuchangchih (Antrodia camphorata) and its potential in treating liver diseases. Ao ZH, Xu ZH, Lu ZM, Xu HY, Zhang XM, Dou WF. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;121(2):194–212.

13. Cordyceps sinensis increases the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens on human hepatoma cell line HA22T/VGH cells. Chiu JH, Ju CH, Wu LH, Lui WY, Wu CW, Shiao MS, Hong CY. Am J Chin Med. 1998;26(2):159–170.

14. A new lectin with highly potent antihepatoma and antisarcoma activities from the oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. Wang H, Gao J, Ng TB. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000;275(3):810–816.

15. Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, Kim Y, Kim SJ, Lee JS, Chai KY, Kim HJ, Cui MX, So HS, Kim KY, Park R. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(4):511–517.