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Effects of biological response modifiers with different modes of action used separately and together on immune responses in mice with syngeneic tumours.

The effect of a protein-bound polysaccharide (PSK) obtained from cultured mycelia of the Basidiomycetes Coriolus versicolor on activities involved in the host defence mechanism of C57BL/6 mice bearing adenocarcinoma 755 was compared with that of live bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). Delayed footpad reaction, the activity of splenic natural killer cells and interferon production induced by concanavalin A in splenic cells of healthy mice were little affected by PSK, but in mice bearing tumours PSK prevented the tumour-induced reduction in these activities. Live BCG augmented these activities in healthy mice but had little effect on the reduction of activities induced by a tumor. The immunosuppressive activity of the serum of tumour-bearing mice was reduced by PSK administration; live BCG did not have this effect. The combined use of live BCG and PSK improved these activities in the host, with synergistic increases in the antitumour effect. These results suggest that the combined use of live BCG and PSK, which have different modes of action, may be useful in the treatment of cancer.[…]

Postoperative PSK and OK-432 immunochemotherapy for patients with gastric cancer.

We evaluated the effects of chemotherapy given postoperatively with and without immunomodulators on the survival of patients who had undergone resection for gastric cancer. We conducted a retrospective survey of data on 963 Japanese patients treated at our department of surgery between 1965 and 1987. Data related to the duration of postoperative survival were calculated for those who received chemotherapy, i.e. an individualized combination of various agents given with or without the immunomodulators PSK, a protein extract of the fungus Coriolus versicolor, and/or OK-432, a preparation of an attenuated strain of Streptococcus (immunochemotherapy). Postoperative immunochemotherapy was more often prescribed for patients with advanced disease. The survival of patients who received immunochemotherapy was shorter than that of patients who received only chemotherapy. In a subgroup of patients adjusted for disease stage, the survival of those on chemotherapy versus immunochemotherapy did not differ significantly at any stage. For optimal results, a protocol for postoperative immunochemotherapy needs to be designed and investigated prospectively and according to the stage of gastric cancer. The stage III gastric cancers seem amenable to a favorable response.[…]

Enhancement of anti-cancer activity of cisdiaminedichloroplatinum by the protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS-K) in vitro.

The protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS_K) expresses superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimicking activity. Examination was made of the effects of PS-K on cancer cell lines following administration of the anti-cancer drug cisdiaminedichloroplatinum (cisplatin). Cell proliferation of each cell line was inhibited markedly by cisplatin from 0.5 to 5 micrograms/0.5 ml per well. Fifty percent of the inhibitory concentration (IC50) was 0.33 micrograms/0.5 ml per well in NRK-49F and human ovarian cancer cells, and 1.5 micrograms/0.5 ml per well in H4-II-E. PS-K 50 micrograms/0.5 ml per well prevented cytotoxicity due to cisplatin toward NRK-49F, but enhanced the cytotoxicity on H4-II-E and human ovarian cancer cells. Increase in lipid peroxide and decrease in SOD activity were observed following an IC50 dose of cisplatin. With PS-K 50 micrograms/0.5 ml per well, all the above were augmented in H4-II-E and ovarian cancer cells, but diminished in NRK-49F cell line. PS-K may have effect on cancer patients through its combining with cisplatin.[…]

Oxidative stress relief for cancer-bearing hosts by the protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL with SOD mimicking activity.

The protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS-K) expresses the mimetic activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Human cancer patients usually suffer from oxidative stress (OS). Examination was made to determine the capacity of this drug with SOD mimetic activity for relieving OS. Rats transplanted with Walker 256 fibrosarcoma showed OS on day 12. After confirming high levels of OS on day 13, PS-K50 mg/kg was intraperitoneally administered, and prompt decrease in O2-release from RBC was noted. The drug ceased to have any effect 24 hours following the first inoculation. Average OS in human cancer patients was found twice that in healthy persons. In human cancer patients perorally administered PS-K3.0 g/day, OS decreased to the normal level one day after the initial administration. Plasma lipid peroxide (LPO) in cancer patients treated with PS-K for 28 days increased and withdrawal of the drug led to decreased LPO.[…]

Suppression of cancer cell growth in vitro by the protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS-K) with SOD mimicking activity.

The protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor QUEL (PS-K) expresses the mimicking activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Examination was made of the suppressive effects of PS-K on cancer cell lines cultured in vitro. The SOD activity of LLC-WRC-256 (Walker 256 fibrosarcoma) cell lines was less than that of NRK-49F (rat normal kidney fibroblast), H4-II-E (rat hepatoma) and H4-II-E-C3 (rat hepatoma) cell lines. This activity in Walker 256 fibrosarcoma cells increased by 3.6 times and H2O2 concentration, by 2.56 times by PS-K 500 micrograms/ml. Cell proliferation was consequently suppressed and living cells decreased to less than 50% of the cells cultured without PS-K. Catalase and glutathione peroxidase activity changed little by PS-K. The sensitivity of cancer cells to PS-K can be predetermined based on SOD activity in tumor tissue.[…]

Enhancement of the antitumor effect by the concurrent use of a monoclonal antibody and the protein-bound polysaccharide PSK in mice bearing a human cancer cell line.

The antitumor effects of a monoclonal antibody against a human cancer cell line and a protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK, obtained from cultured mycelia of Coriolus versicolor in basidiomycetes were examined. The IgG2a monoclonal antibody against the human colon cancer cell line colo 205 induced in vitro antibody-dependent macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity against the cancer cells, but only slightly suppressed the in vivo growth of the cancer cells. Concurrent use of PSK with the antibody enhanced the in vitro antibody-dependent macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity as well as the in vivo antitumor activity. These findings suggest that the combined use of a monoclonal antibody and PSK, which have different modes of action, may be useful in the treatment of cancer.[…]

Dose intensity of uracil and tegafur in postoperative chemotherapy for patients with poorly differentiated gastric cancer.

A retrospective analysis of postoperative chemotherapy had shown the continuous administration of UFT, an oral preparation of 1-(2-tetrahydrofuryl)-5-fluorouracil (tegafur) and uracil at a molar ratio of 1:4, to be effective for poorly differentiated gastric cancer. We therefore sought to determine prospectively the effective dose of postoperative chemotherapy with UFT for patients with poorly differentiated gastric cancer following a curative resection. We determined the effect of the combined intravenous administration of mitomycin C (MMC) and oral treatment with protein-bound polysaccharide Kreha (PSK), extracted from the basidiomycete Coriolus versicolor, and UFT at a dose of either 8 mg/kg or 12 mg/kg daily for 1 year. A total of 224 patients with poorly differentiated stage II-IV gastric cancer were entered into this study after undergoing a curative resection. No differences were observed between the two treatment groups in terms of prognostic factors, the toxicity rate or the doses of the drugs prescribed, other than UFT. The higher dose of UFT in maintenance therapy led to a decrease in the recurrence rate (P < 0.05), and increases in disease-free survival and cause-specific survival (P < 0.05). UFT at 12 mg/kg in postoperative chemotherapy was thus found- to improve the postoperative results with no increase in toxicity for poorly differentiated gastric cancer, and is also cost-effective for outpatients.[…]

Effects of OK-432 (picibanil) on the estrogen receptors of MCF-7 cells and potentiation of antiproliferative effects of tamoxifen in combination with OK-432.

OK-432 (picibanil), a streptococcal preparation, has a strong biological response modifier (BRM) function and is expected to produce clinical improvement and prolongation of survival in treated cancer patients in Japan. We were interested in whether OK-432 augments estrogen receptor (ER) levels in breast cancer. To investigate the effect of the BRMs on cellular growth and the characteristics of ER and progesterone receptors (PgR) in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7, we used OK-432, Krestin (PSK), a protein-bound polysaccharide extracted from Coriolus versicolor, and lentinan, a fungal branched (1…3)-beta-D-glycan. OK432 and PSK dose dependently inhibited DNA synthesis of MCF-7 cells, and the 50% inhibitory concentrations of OK-432 and PSK were 1.2 KE (klinische Einheit, clinical unit)/ml and 200 micrograms/ml, respectively. Lentinan showed no direct anticancer effect in vitro. We found that OK-432 induced a 2-fold increase in ER levels in MCF-7 cells at 0.005 KE/ml, but not in PgR. Lentinan and low-dose PSK did not change ER or PgR levels, but high-dose PSK decreased ER and PgR. We also studied the combined effect of OK-432 and antiestrogens, tamoxifen (TAM) and DP-TAT-59. The combined treatment with OK-432 and TAM showed an additive inhibitory effect on MCF-7 cells. These results suggest that OK-432 may augment the therapeutic effect of TAM in breast cancer.[…]

The use of mushroom glucans and proteoglycans in cancer treatment.

Immunoceuticals can be considered as substances having immunotherapeutic efficacy when taken orally. More than 50 mushroom species have yielded potential immunoceuticals that exhibit anticancer activity in vitro or in animal models and of these, six have been investigated in human cancers. All are non-toxic and very well tolerated. Lentinan and schizophyllan have little oral activity. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is poorly defined but has shown early clinical promise. Maitake D-Fraction has limited proof of clinical efficacy to date, but controlled research is underway. Two proteoglycans from Coriolus versicolor – PSK (Polysaccharide-K) and PSP (Polysaccharide-Peptide – have demonstrated the most promise. In Japanese trials since 1970, PSK significantly extended survival at five years or beyond in cancers of the stomach, colon-rectum, esophagus, nasopharynx, and lung (non-small cell types), and in a HLA B40-positive breast cancer subset. PSP was subjected to Phase II and Phase III trials in China. In double-blind trials, PSP significantly extended five-year survival in esophageal cancer. PSP significantly improved quality of life, provided substantial pain relief, and enhanced immune status in 70-97 percent of patients with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, ovary, and cervix. PSK and PSP boosted immune cell production, ameliorated chemotherapy symptoms, and enhanced tumor infiltration by dendritic and cytotoxic T-cells. Their extremely high tolerability, proven benefits to survival and quality of life, and compatibility with chemotherapy and radiation therapy makes them well suited for cancer management regimens.[…]

Immunomodulation and anti-cancer activity of polysaccharide-protein complexes.

In the last three decades, numerous polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes have been isolated from mushrooms and used as a source of therapeutic agents. The most promising biopharmacological activities of these biopolymers are their immunomodulation and anti-cancer effects. They are mainly present as glucans with different types of glycosidic linkages such as (1–>3), (1–>6)-beta-glucans and (1–>3)-alpha-glucans, and as true herteroglycans, while others mostly bind to protein residues as polysaccharide-protein complexes. Three antitumor mushroom polysaccharides, i.e. lentinan, schizophyllan and protein-bound polysaccharide (PSK, Krestin), isolated respectively, from Lentinus edodes, Schizophyllum commune and Coriolus versicolor, have become large market items in Japan. Lentinan and schizophyllan are pure beta-glucans, whereas PSK is a protein-bound beta-glucan. A polysaccharide peptide (PSP), isolated from a strain of Coriolus versicolor in China, has also been widely used as an anti-cancer and immunomodulatory agent. Although the mechansim of their antitumor action is still not completely clear, these polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes are suggested to enhance cell-mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro and act as biological response modifiers. Potentiation of the host defense system may result in the activation of many kinds of immune cells that are vitally important for the maintenance of homeostasis. Polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes are considered as multi-cytokine inducers that are able to induce gene expression of vaious immunomodulatory cytokines and cytokine receptors. Some interesting studies focus on investigation of the relationship between their structure and antitumor activity, elucidation of their antitumor mechanism at the molecular level, and improvement of their various biological activities by chemical modifications.[…]