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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
IF: 1.211 5-Year IF: 1.394 SJR: 0.433 SNIP: 0.661 CiteScore™: 1.38

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v6.i2.10
12 pages

Chemopreventive and Tumoricidal Properties of Ling Zhi Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (W. Curt.:Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Part I. Preclinical and Clinical Studies (Review)

Yihuai Gao
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University; Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland, New Zealand
Wenbo Tank
New Zealand Institute of Natural Medicines, Auckland, New Zealand
He Gao
Division of Traditional Chinese Medicine, New Zealand Institute of Natural Medicines, Auckland, New Zealand
Jin Lan
Institute of Human Nutrition and Department of Biochemistry, Qingdao Medical College, Qingdao University, China
Shufeng Zhou
Division of Pharmacy, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore; University of South Florida FL 33612, USA


There is an increasing interest in identifying effective and safe constituents from medicinal mushrooms for cancer prevention and treatment. Ganoderma lucidum has been used for this purpose, which is given as a single agent, or in combination with herbs or synthetic chemotherapeutic agents. Various polysaccharides (in particular β-D-glucans and glycoproteins) and triterpenoids have been found to be the major active constituents responsible for the chemopreventive and tumoricidal activity of G. lucidum. These compounds exerted promising cancer preventive and anticancer activity in animal (mouse and rat) studies. However, randomized, placebo-controlled, and multicenter clinical studies using G. lucidum have rarely been reported. In a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, 38 (26.6%) of 143 cancer patients had stable disease for 12 weeks or more (range, 12−50 weeks) when treated with Ganoply (a G. lucidum polysaccharide extract) orally at 1800 mg three times daily for 12 weeks. Palliative effects on cancer-related symptoms, such as sweating and insomnia, have been observed in many patients. Ganopoly was well tolerated, with five moderate adverse events recorded. These initial findings indicate that G. lucidum may represent a practical and promising approach for cancer prevention and cancer treatment. Further studies are required to establish the relationship between G. lucidum intake dose and cancer risks and to investigate the efficacy and safety when used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.