Research Papers:

The β-glucan from Lentinus edodes suppresses cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis in estrogen receptor positive breast cancers

Hui Xu, Siwei Zou and Xiaojuan Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:86693-86709. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21411

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Hui Xu1,*, Siwei Zou1,* and Xiaojuan Xu1

1College of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Xiaojuan Xu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: β-glucan, breast cancer, estrogen receptor positive, proliferation, apoptosis

Received: November 24, 2016     Accepted: August 28, 2017     Published: September 30, 2017


Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in worldwide women, and novel interventions are needed to overcome the resistance occurring in the estrogen-targeted endocrine therapy. Herein, we demonstrate that the β-glucan from Lentinus edodes (LNT) exhibited a profound inhibition ratio of ~53% against estrogen receptor positive (ER+) MCF-7 tumor growth in nude mice similar to the positive control of cisplatin. Immunohistochemistry images showed that LNT evidently suppressed cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis in MCF-7 tumor tissues. The Western blotting analysis indicated that LNT up-regulated the tumor suppressor p53, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (p-ERK1/2), cleaved-Caspase 3 and poly [ADP (ribose)] polymerase 1 (PARP 1) protein levels, and reduced the expression of mouse double minute 2 (MDM2), telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) p65, B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), estrogen receptor α (ERα), etc. in tumor tissues. Moreover, LNT significantly suppressed phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), phosphorylated protein kinase B (p-Akt) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein levels. It was thus proposed that LNT inhibited MCF-7 tumor growth through suppressing cell proliferation and enhancing apoptosis possibly via multiple pathways such as PI3K/Akt/mTOR, NF-κB-, ERK-, ERα-, caspase- and p53-dependent pathways. Interestingly, the cell viability assay, siRNA transfection, Western blotting and flow cytometric analysis suggested that LNT targeted p53/ERα to only suppress cell proliferation via cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase without apoptosis in vitro. The big difference between in vivo and in vitro data suggested that the immune responses triggered by the polysaccharide should mainly contribute to the apoptotic effect in vivo. Overall, this work provides a novel strategy to treat ER+ breast cancers by using a naturally occurring β-glucan from mushrooms.

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