B-glucans from Grifola frondosa and Ganoderma lucidum in breast cancer: an example of complementary and integrative medicine

Paola Rossi, Raffaele Difrancia, Vincenzo Quagliariello, Elena Savino, Paolo Tralongo, Cinzia Lucia Randazzo and Massimiliano Berretta _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:24837-24856. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24984

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Paola Rossi1, Raffaele Difrancia2, Vincenzo Quagliariello3, Elena Savino4, Paolo Tralongo5, Cinzia Lucia Randazzo6 and Massimiliano Berretta7

1Department of Biology and Biotechnology “L. Spallanzani”, University of Pavia, Italy

2Gruppo Oncologico Ricercatori Italiani, GORI onlus, Pordenone, Italy

3Department of Abdominal Oncology, National Cancer Institute, IRCCS - Foundation G. Pascale, Naples, Italy

4Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pavia, Italy

5Oncology Division Umberto I Hospital, Siracusa, Italy

6Department of Agricultural, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Italy

7Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Institute, IRCCS, Aviano (PN), Italy

Correspondence to:

Massimiliano Berretta, email: [email protected]

Keywords: G. lucidum; G. frondosa; breast cancer; immunomodulation; microbiota

Received: February 03, 2018     Accepted: March 07, 2018     Published: May 15, 2018


Culinary and medicinal mushrooms are widely used in Asian countries, both as dietary supplements and as nutraceutical foods. They have recently become popular in Europe, as well, for their nutritional and health benefits. In particular, epidemiological studies conducted in Asia suggest that mushroom intake, together with other phytotherapy substances, protects against cancer, specifically gastrointestinal (GI) and breast cancers. Most of the data come from in vitro studies and in vivo experimental animal models. Therefore, in order to translate the updated knowledge to clinical research (i.e., from bench to bedside) a systematic translational research program should be initiated. Future randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of G. frondosa and G. lucidum on conventional treatment outcomes are warranted.

The purpose of this review was to describe the emerging mechanisms of action of the mushrooms’ anticancer functions which makes their use in clinical practice so promising. Clinical effects of mycotherapy (specifically, the use of Ganoderma lucidum and Grifola frondosa) on long-term survival, tumor response, host immune functions, inflammation, and QoL in cancer patients were also addressed. Adverse events associated with mycotherapy were also investigated. Emerging data point to a potential role of G. lucidum for modulating the carcinogenic potential of GI microbiota, which suggests a new complementary and integrated approach to breast cancer treatment.

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