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Induction of S phase cell arrest and caspase activation by polysaccharide peptide isolated from Coriolus versicolor enhanced the cell cycle dependent activity and apoptotic cell death of doxorubicin and etoposide, but not cytarabine in HL-60 cells.

Activation of the cell death program (apoptosis) is a strategy for the treatment of human cancer, and unfortunately a large number of drugs identified as cell cycle-specific agents for killing cancer cells are also toxic to normal cells. The present study demonstrates that the polysaccharide peptide (PSP) extracted from the Chinese medicinal mushroom, Coriolus versicolor, used in combination therapy in China, has the ability to lower the cytotoxicity of certain anti-leukemic drugs via their interaction with cell cycle-dependent and apoptotic pathways. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that pre-treatment of PSP (25-100 microg/ml) dose-dependently enhanced the cell cycle perturbation and apoptotic activity of doxorubicin (Doxo) and etoposide (VP-16), but not cytarabine (Ara-C) in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. The antagonistic result from combined treatment with Ara-C and PSP may be caused by the removal of HL-60 cells in the G1-S boundary by PSP before exposure to Ara-C. A negative correlation between the increase in apoptotic cell population (pre-G1 peak) with the S-phase cell population expression (R2=0.998), the expression of cyclin E expression (R2=0.872) and caspase 3 activity (R2=0.997) suggests that PSP enhanced the apoptotic machinery of Doxo and VP-16 in a cell cycle-dependent manner and is mediated, at least in part, by the PSP-mediated modulation of the regulatory checkpoint cyclin E and caspase 3. This study is the first to describe the cell cycle mechanistic action of PSP and its interaction with other anticancer agents. Our data support the potential development of PSP as an adjuvant for leukemia treatment, but also imply the importance of understanding its interaction with individual anticancer agents.[…]

The cell death process of the anticancer agent polysaccharide-peptide (PSP) in human promyelocytic leukemic HL-60 cells.

The polysaccharide peptide (PSP) isolated from the mycelia of Chinese Medicinal fungus Coriolus versicolor has proven benefits in clinical trials in China but the mechanism of action has not been elucidated. In this study, HL-60 cell line was used to investigate the anti-proliferation and cell death process of PSP. The cytotoxicity of PSP on normal human T-lymphocytes was also evaluated. We show that PSP induced apoptosis of human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells but not of normal human T-lymphocytes. The apoptotic machinery induced by PSP was associated with a decrease in Bcl-2/Bax ratio, drop in mitochondrial transmembrane potential, cytochrome c release, and activation of caspase-3, -8 and -9. Activation of the cellular apoptotic program is a current strategy for the treatment of human cancer, and the selectivity of PSP to induce apoptosis in cancerous and not on normal cells supports its development as a novel anticancer agent.[…]

Differential anti-tumor activity of coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) extract through p53- and/or Bcl-2-dependent apoptotic pathway in human breast cancer cells.

Coriolus versicolor (CV), also called Yunzhi, has been demonstrated to exert anti-tumor effects on various types of cancer cells, but the underlying mechanism has not been fully elucidated. The present study aimed to evaluate the in vitro anti-tumor activity of a standardized aqueous ethanol extract prepared from CV on four breast cancer cell lines using MTT assay, and test whether the mechanism involves apoptosis induction and modulation of p53 and Bcl-2 protein expressions using cell death detection ELISA, p53 and Bcl-2 ELISAs respectively. Our results demonstrated that the CV extract dose-dependently suppressed the proliferation of three breast tumor cell lines, with ascending order of IC50 values: T-47D, MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, while BT-20 cells were not significantly affected. Tumoricidal activity of the CV extract was found to be comparable to a chemotherapeutic anti-cancer drug, mitomycin C. Nucleosome productions in apoptotic MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and T-47D cells were significantly augmented in a time-dependent manner and paralleled the anti-proliferative activity of CV extract. Expression of p53 protein was significantly upregulated only in T-47D cells treated with the CV extract in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, but not in MCF-7 (except at 400 mug/ml after 16 h) and MDA-MB-231 cells. The CV extract significantly induced a dose-dependent downregulation of Bcl-2 protein expression in MCF-7 and T-47D cells, but not in MDA-MB-231 cells. These results suggested that apoptosis induction, differentially dependent of p53 and Bcl-2 expressions, might be the possible mechanism of CV extract-mediated cytotoxicity in human breast cancer cells in vitro.[…]

Lack of prevention of large intestinal cancer by VPS, an extract of Coriolus versicolor mushroom.

Cancer prevention studies were conducted with VPS, a hot water extract of the Coriolus versicolor (CV) mushroom, in female Swiss mice. The extract was administered in the diet for life to the animals. Three groups of mice received the following treatments: a). 1,2-dimethylhydrazine dihydrochloride (1,2-DMH) was administered as 10 weekly subcutaneous injections of 20 microg/g body weight, starting at 9 weeks of age; b). VPS was given at a 2% dose level starting at 7 weeks of age followed by 1,2-DMH, as described in group a; c). 1,2-DMH was administered as described in group a followed by VPS at a 2% dose level starting at 21 weeks of age. The number of animals with large intestinal tumors and the total number of these tumors were: a). 30,321; b). 29,359; and c). 28,415. These differences are not statistically significant. Because extracts of the CV mushroom are used by cancer patients as nutritional supplements in the U.S., and particularly in the Orient, the present negative result should caution its users.[…]

Comparsion of Anti-cancer Effect between two kinds of Polysaccharide Peptide of Coriolus versicolor on Human Tumor Cell Lines in Vitro

PSK as a new immunomodulative drug had been widely used for clinical anticancer therapy in Japan. When combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical operation, PSK is found to be able to improve the therapeutic effects. In 1983, a polysaccharide peptide of Coriolus versicolor Cov-1 was isolated from the mycelia by Qing-yao Yang. It is possessed of physio-chemical characteristics similar to PSK and designated as PSP. In the present study the anti-cancer effect of PSP was compared with PSK using four human tumor cell line targets in vitro.[…]

Treatment of cancer with mushroom products.

The author describes a study which shows that natural killer cells can double in number with 8 wk of treatment with Coriolus versicolor. Also described is an epidemiological survey of cancer deaths among Flammulina velutipes farmers in Japan, which found that the mushroom farmers had lower rates of cancer deaths than controls who were not involved in mushroom farming?.[…]

Clinical Experience in the Use of PSP

W.C. Xue and T.F. Liu
Cancer Hospital, Shanghai Medical University


There is no really effective treatment for moderate and advanced stages of esophageal
carcinoma. Although surgery for the earlier cases has been able to give a 5 years survival
rate of 28.7%, such operable cases are relatively few. By far the greater majority are
already in stage III to IV when first seen in the clinic, and radiotherapy alone in these cases
has given a 5 years survival rate of only 8-14%. In order to improve treatment results, a
variety of chemotherapeutic agents have been used in combination surgery, but so far no
really effective drug has been found.

The drug PSP (polysaccharide-peptide of Coriolus versicolor) has been discovered and
produced by Professor Qing-yao Yang of. It is a new anti-cancer and immuno-regulatory
drug, similar to PSK (Krestin) but the effective component has been found to be larger
than PSK. Experimental data has proved these properties of PSP, and in vitro as well as
in vivo studies have all proved that PSP is superior to PSK. Of course, as is the case with
all new drugs, the ultimate proof of its value will have to be shown by clinical application.

Data on Krestin suggest that this family of drugs when used in combination with
radiotherapy, there might be an increase of the biological effects of radiation. To do a
pilot study on such a possibility, the authors have treated 41 moderate to advanced cases of
esophageal carcinoma with a combination of PSP and radiotherapy.[…]

Krestin (PSK).

A polysaccharide preparation isolated from Coriolus versicolor (Fr.) Quél. of Basidiomycetes (PSK) predominantly consists of glucan and approximately 25% tightly bound protein. PSK was effective against various allogeneic and syngeneic animal tumors and has been given orally to cancer patients. Various suppressed or enhanced immune responses of tumor-bearing animals were restored to normal levels by the administration of PSK in the tumor models tested. The killer T cell activity was augmented in tumor-bearing mice by intraperitoneal or oral administration of PSK, and there was correlation between the PSK associated antitumor effect and the killer T cell activity. It was found that PSK competed with immunosuppressive substances isolated from tumor-bearing mice and that the intestinal immune system appeared to be modulated by oral administration of PSK. After oral administration of 14C- or 35S-labeled PSK to normal rats, it was found that small or large molecular substances appeared in the serum depending on the time elapsed after administration, an indication that large molecular size products were from the digestive tract.[…]

A protein-bound polysaccharide immunomodulator, PSK, does not suppress the conversion from 1-(2-tetrahydrofuryl)-5-fluorouracil to 5-fluorouracil in patients with gastric cancer.

Effects of the immunomodulator PSK on the metabolism of 1-(2-tetrahydrofuryl)-5-fluorouracil (tegafur) to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) were examined in 10 patients with advanced gastric cancer and who had undergone curative resection. PSK is a protein-bound preparation, extracted from Coriolus versicolor and belongs to Basidiomycetes. The 5-FU concentration in the plasma was 0.024 micrograms/ml at 15 min after the intravenous injection of 400 mg of tegafur and the area under the curve of 5-FU was 0.58 micrograms.h/ml. Following administration of PSK, 3 g/day for 8-14 months, there was no change in the plasma level of 5-FU, in any patient. As the clinical dose of PSK had no apparent influence on the metabolism of tegafur to 5-FU, the combination of PSK and tegafur can be prescribed to treat patients with advanced gastric cancer.[…]

Mimicking of superoxide dismutase activity by protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL, and oxidative stress relief for cancer patients.

The protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS-K) has been found to express antioxidant activity as an “ion-radical scavenger” in diamine oxidation reactions. The mode of this expression was examined to determine whether the drug functioned as a simple radical scavenger or mimicked the action of superoxide dismutase (SOD). The latter was confirmed in both enzymatic and nonenzymatic superoxide anion radical (O2-.) producing systems in vitro. The SOD mimetic activity of PS-K was demonstrated by quantitative analysis of hydrogen peroxide as the end product of O2-., its formation being assisted catalytically by SOD or PS-K. Analysis by electron spin resonance also confirmed the SOD mimetic activity of PS-K in a xanthine-xanthine oxidase reaction. Relative SOD activity with PS-K was approximately 1/8,000 in a KO2-O2-.-producing system. The SOD mimetic activity of PS-K resisted treatment by 0.7N HCl, 0.7N NaOH, boiling for 30 minutes in a double water bath, and digestion by pronase. Fractionation according to differences in molecular mass caused no significant increase in relative SOD activity within a certain range of molecular mass, indicating that there is no definite molecule expressing SOD mimetic activity. Tumor-bearing rats and human patients with digestive tract cancer who suffered from oxidative stress were relieved by a single intraperitoneal administration of PS-K or a 1-day peroral prescription.[…]