Category Archives: PSK

Clinical Trial Results Show Proof-of-Concept For Use Of Coriolus Versicolor As Immunonutrition In HPV Patients With Cervical Lesions (LSIL)

(Medical News Today – 4/29/2008) The results of a year long clinical trial examining the effects of mushroom supplementation in patients with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) have recently been presented at congress. Dr. Jose Silva Couto and Dr. Daniel Pereira da Silva of the Cervical Pathology Unit of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology in Coimbra, Portugal presented their findings at the 20th European Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, in Lisbon Portugal. This study provides a promising set of results and demonstrates proof-of concept for the question as to whether immunonutrition supplements can be successfully used to improve HPV status in patients.

The poster presentation detailed the results of the evaluation of the Efficacy of Coriolus versicolor Supplementation in patients infected with HPV with low-grade squamous intraepthithelial lesions (LSIL). The Coriolus versicolor mushroom supplied for the study was produced by Mycology Research Laboratories Ltd in tablet form (500 mg/tablet).

Dr. Silva Couto et al. found that Coriolus versicolor supplementation over a period of one year substantially increased regression of the dysplasia (LSIL) and induced clearance of the high risk sub-types of the HPV virus responsible for cervical cancer.

a) Coriolus versicolor supplementation demonstrated a 72% regression rate in LSIL lesions compared to 47.5% without supplementation.

b) Coriolus versicolor supplementation demonstrated a 90% regression rate in the high risk HPV virus sub-types compared to 8.5% without supplementation.

Study Design

The year long study was funded by Mycology Research Laboratories Ltd. The Portuguese pharmaceutical firm Aneid-Produtos Farmacêuticos Lda acted as collaborative partners.

Forty-three (43) patients with HPV Lesions (LSIL) were divided into two groups:

– A Control group (21 patients) who did not receive any treatment

– A treatment group (22 patients) who each received Coriolus versicolor supplementation for a period of one year (6 tablets/day i.e. 3g/day)

Protocol Design

At first observation, patients were examined with colposcopy, biopsy and HPV tipification (hybrid capture). Cervical cytology exams (Pap smear tests) determined the patients’ LSIL status and this was confirmed through colposcopy and biopsy.

Four months after the first observations, colposcopy and cervical cytology was again carried out on all patients. At the same time, there was an evaluation of the possible side effects from Coriolus supplementation.

After one year, (at the end of the supplementation period), colposcopy, cervical cytology and HPV typing were carried out on all patients.

Success Parameters

The authors measured the efficacy of Coriolus supplementation in LSIL patients in terms of the evolution of HPV status from High Risk HPV+ status to High Risk HPV- status. High Risk HPV, refers to certain strains of HPV that are known to be associated with causing cervical cancer, such strains include HPV 16, 18, 31 and 45. The persistence of cervical lesions as measured by colposcopy and cytology was also determined.

Study Population

Out of the 43 patients enrolled, 39 completed the trial. Of the four (4) who did not complete the trial, 1 patient left the country and 3 discontinued supplementation due to mild side-effects. The side-effects were not serious and did not warrant further medical intervention.

The age distribution of the two groups was very similar. Patients receiving Coriolus versicolor supplementation had an average age of 31.7 years (minimum age of 19, maximum age of 49 years). The control group had an average age of 33.4 years (minimum age of 19 and a maximum of 51 years).


Of the 39 patients who completed one year of follow-up, 18 took Coriolus supplementation, while the other 21 patients received no therapy (Control group). After 1 year 13 of the 18 patients in the Coriolus group showed normal cervical cytology (72.5%) while only 10 of the patients in the control group did (47.5%).

Of the 39 patients, 22 were positive for high risk HPV subtypes.10 of these patients were in the Coriolus group and 12 in the control group. After 1 year 9 of the 10 in the Coriolus group had reverted to HPV- status (90%) while only 1 of the 12 in the control group had (8.5%).

What do these results mean for HPV patients?

The results from this study are encouraging and provide insight into the effectiveness of Coriolus versicolor as a useful immunonutrition agent. Using Coriolus supplementation for one year resulted in 72.5% of recipients reverting to normal cytology compares with only 47.5% of the control group. Encouragingly, 90% of the Coriolus recipients reverted to a HPV- status compared with only 8.5% in the control group.

While the study sample size is limited in number, the results strongly suggest that using Coriolus versicolor as a food supplementation agent offers doctors a useful nutritional tool when treating HPV (LSIL) patients over the age of 35 or those HPV (LSIL) patients with compromised immune systems.

It is also likely that Coriolus versicolor could be beneficial in HSIL patients who have undergone surgery but who experience recurrent lesions caused by persistent HPV viral infection; the eradication or “control” of the viral infection is key to both LSIL and HSIL patient care.

According to Dr Silva Couto, one of the study authors “At present, we believe that the optimal supplementation period may actually be as short as six months. Further testing is required to determine the best way to reduce the time period from the one year period used in this study.”. A shorter period of treatment would aid compliance as well as reducing the already minimal overall cost of therapy.

Why Coriolus versicolor?

As already stated, the mushroom Coriolus versicolor has been used in traditional Asian medicine for a long time. It is now known that Coriolus contains high quantities of Beta-glucans that act to stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown that Coriolus can double the number of natural killer cells after only 8-weeks of treatment.1,2 The benefits of treatment with the fungus has also been tested in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Coriolus versicolor (strain CV-OH1) is grown aseptically on sterile, edible grain, harvested and then produced as a tablet following good manufacturing practice according to pharmaceutical guidelines. It is free from pesticide, heavy metals and contaminants.

1. Jean A. Monro, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. J Integrative Medicine 2004;8:101-108

2. Jean A. Monro Treatment of Cancer with Mushroom Products. Arch Env Health 2003;58:533-537

Source: Medical News Today

Adjuvant PSK immunotherapy in patients with carcinoma of the nasopharynx.

A controlled study using adjuvant PSK immunotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma was initiated with the aim of improving survival by enhancing the host immune system against tumour cells. A total of 38 patients were randomly selected, all of whom had previously received radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. Eight patients in the PSK immunotherapy group (n = 21) developed local recurrence, three of whom later died due to distant metastasis. In the control group (n = 17) three patients developed local recurrence while six patients developed distant metastasis. All of these six patients later died due to disease progression. It seems that PSK exerts its antitumour effect systemically; the risk of distant metastasis occurring is decreased, but it is apparently ineffective in improving local disease control. The estimated median survival time of the PSK-treated group compared with the control was significantly increased (35 months versus 25 months, P = 0.043). The 5-year survival rate was also significantly better in the PSK immunotherapy group (28% versus 15%, P = 0.043). It is concluded that PSK deserves careful consideration as an important immunotherapeutic agent in the management of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Adjuvant immunochemotherapy with oral Tegafur/Uracil plus PSK in patients with stage II or III colorectal cancer: a randomised controlled study

Intravenous fluorouracil and leucovorin is the standard adjuvant treatment for stage III colon cancer. However, oral adjuvant chemotherapy is attractive because it has low toxicity and greater convenience. We investigated the benefits of oral protein-bound polysaccharide K (PSK) with tegafur/uracil (UFT) as an adjuvant in stage II and III colorectal cancer. Patients were assigned to groups that received either 3 g PSK plus 300 mg UFT, or 300 mg UFT alone orally each day for a 2-year period following intravenous mitomycin C. Of 207 registered patients, 205 with stage II (n¼123) or III (n¼82) were analysed. The 5-year disease-free survival was 73.0% (95% CI 65.6–80.4%) with PSK (n¼137) and 58.8% (95% CI 47.1–70.5%) in the controls (n¼68) (P¼0.016). POLYSACCHARIDE K reduced the recurrence by 43.6% (95% CI 4.5–66.7%) and mortality by 40.2% (95% CI _12.5 to 68.3%). The 5-year survival was 81.8% (95% CI 75.3–88.2%) in the PSK group and 72.1% (95% CI 61.4–82.7%) in the control group (P¼0.056). In stage III patients, disease-free and overall survivals in patients receiving PSK were increased significantly: 60.0% (95% CI 47.1–72.9%) and 74.6% (95% CI 63.0–86.1%) in the PSK group as compared with 32.1% (95% CI 14.8–49.4%) and 46.4% (95% CI 28.0–64.9%) in the controls (P¼0.002 and 0.003, respectively). Polysaccharide K prevented recurrence, particularly lung metastases (P¼0.02; odds ratio 0.27; 95% CI 0.09–0.77). In the models, the presence of regional metastases (relative risk, 2.973; 95% CI 1.712–5.165; Po0.001), omission of PSK (relative risk, 2.106; 95% CI 1.221–3.633; P¼0.007), and higher primary tumour (relative risk, 4.398; 95% CI 1.017–19.014; P¼0.047) were each significant indicators of recurrence. Adverse effects were mild and compliance was good. Oral PSK with UFT reduced recurrence in stage II and III colorectal cancer, and increased survival in stage III.

For full article click here.

Activation of human natural killer cells by the protein-bound polysaccharide PSK

The protein-bound polysaccharide PSK was tested for the ability to activate human natural killer (NK) cells. When blood lymphocytes and purified CD3-CD16 ÷ large granular lymphocytes (LGL) were treated in vitro overnight with PSK, they demonstrated enhanced NK cell activity against K562. The PSK-activated killer cells also lysed NK-resistant targets and freshly isolated autologous and allogeneic tumor cells. The PSK effect was observed with concentrations that could be obtained in the blood of cancer patients receiving oral administration of PSK. PSK-induced enhancement of NK activity was not abrogated by monoclonal antibodies (mAb) that neutralized interferon (IFN)o~, IFN3,, or interleukin-2 (IL-2). In addition, mAb reactive with p55 (~ chain) or p75 (/3 chain) glycoproteins of IL-2 receptors had no effects on PSK-enhanced NK activity even when used simultaneously. These results indicate that the PSK could activate human NK cells independently of IFN and IL-2/IL-2R systems.

For full article click here.

A Review of Research on the Protein-Bound Polysaccharide from the Mushroom Coriolus Versicolor

Mushrooms are known for their nutritional and medicinal value (Breene, 1990) and also for the diversity of bioactive compounds they contain. The mushroom Coriolus versicolor (Yun Zhi) was recorded in the Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shi Zhen during the Ming Dynasty in China, as being beneficial to health and able to bring longevity if consumed regularly. Various products derived from this mushroom and claimed to have medicinal value are commercially available. Among them, PSK (Sakagami et al., 1991) and PSP are the most prominent. It is the intent of this article to summarize research data pertaining to PSP.

PSK (Sakagami et al., 1991) and PSP are two chemically related products of the mushroom Coriolus versico~or isolated from deeplayer cultivated mycelia of the COV-1 and CM-101 strains, by Chinese and Japanese investigators, respectively. The similarities and differences of the two products have been pointed out by the Fungi Research Institute (1993a). Both possess a molecular weight of approximately 100 kDa and their polypeptide moieties are rich in aspartic acid and glutamic acid. Monosaccharides with o~-1,4 and [3-1,3 glucosidic linkages constitute the pol~saccharide moieties of PSP and PSK: fucose is found in the latter¢ whereas arabinose and rhamnose occur in the former. Both PSP and PSK have been found to be immunoenhancing and effective against tumor cells.

For full article click here.

PSK does not surpress 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.


We found that PSK has an antiviral effect on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vitro. One of the mechanisms of this effect is attributable to the inhibition of binding of HIV with lymphocytes. Here, we found that PSK inhibits reverse transcriptase in a non-competitive way in vitro. Such inhibition may be important in its anti-HIV effect as well as its inhibitory effect on the binding of HIV with lymphocytes.

For full article click here.

Hartford Hospital, Conneticut & Coriolus Vericolor PSK/PSP

What Hartford Hospital in Conneticut has to say about Coriolus Versicolor

“Currently, extracts of Coriolus versicolor called polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide (PSP) are under study as immune stimulants for use alongside chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer. These two related substances, made from slightly different strains of the fungus, are thought to act as “biological response modifiers,” meaning that they affect the body’s response to cancer.

According to most but not all reported trials, most of which were performed in Asia, both PSK and PSP can enhance the effects of various forms of standard cancer treatment. For example, in a 28-day double-blind , placebo-controlled study of 34 people with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer, use of Coriolus extracts along with conventional treatment significantly slowed the progression of the disease.

It is thought that Coriolus extracts work by stimulating the body’s own cancer-fighting cells. PSK and PSP may also have cancer-preventive effects.
In addition, very weak evidence hints that extracts of Coriolus versicolor might be helpful for HIV infection.”