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Lingzhi (Reishi)-Powerful Anti-Cancer Supplement

Lingzhi is a mushroom grows wild on certain types of decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China and Japan.

Lingzhi containing sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids (ganoderic acids).  Lingzhi or in Japanese Reishi (Scientific name is Ganoderma Lucidum), a popular medicinal mushroom, has been used in China for longevity and health promotion since ancient times.

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Investigations into the anticancer activity of Lingzhi have been performed in both in vitro and in vivo studies, supporting its application for cancer treatment and prevention. Anticancer activity of Lingzhi has prompted its usage by cancer patients.

Cellular immune responses and mitogenic reactivity of cancer patients have been enhanced by Lingzhi, as reported in two randomized and one nonrandomized trials, and the quality of life of 65% of lung cancer patients improved significantly.

In Japan, after daily injections in mice with cancer it was reported that tumors in 50% of the animals had completely regressed within 10 days. (Ikekawa et al,1968; Japanese Journal of Cancer Research; 59: 155-157)

The host-dependent anti-tumor activity has been subsequently confirmed to be from the polysaccharide fractions of Lingzhi by Sasaki et al.. [20]

Multiple similar studies subsequently confirms this observation and anti-tumor efficacy of Lingzhi has been demonstrated from various species, at different stages of growth and using different solvents for extraction and different routes of administration. Anti-tumor activity has been demonstrated in vitro as well as in syngeneic tumor systems.

There has been research showing Lingzhi an effective supplement during chemotherapy or radiotherapy to reduce side-effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite, hair loss, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection. Lingzhi was shown effective against fatigue, [21] hair loss, [22] and bone marrow suppression. [23] There is similar clinical evidence for other glucan BRMs applied in the setting of cancer chemotherapy or radiotherapy[24] lending further support to the supplementation of Lingzhi in combination with cytotoxic cancer therapies.

In an animal model, Lingzhi has been demonstrated to effectively prevent cancer metastasis [26].

Medicinal uses Lingzhi possess some anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by some studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus [6].

The anti-tumoral effect of Lingzhi is not entirely known but it is probably due to a combination of different mechanisms: inhibition of the angiogenesis (formation of arterial vessels that give nutrients to the tumour) by mediating over the cytoquines, inducing and enhancing the apoptosis of tumoral cells (the natural and spontaneous cellular death). There are probably other mechanisms involved in the antitumoral action of Lingzhi such as its inhibitory effect over the growth of cells containing masculine or feminine hormonal receptors (androgens and estrogens), being this of particular interest when dealing with breast cancer or prostate cancer.

Other possible mechanism of action that could explain the antitumoral effect of Lingzhi such as a direct citotoxic effect on the tumoral cells has also been postulated. It has also been suggested that Lingzhi could act blocking and stopping the migration of the cancer cells and therefore delaying the presence of metastasis.

It seems that all these mechanisms could explain, at least in part, the positive effect of Lingzhi in breast -, prostate-, lung-, colon- and rectum cancer as well as in other forms [30-59].

The complex interaction of anti-cancerous substances in Lingzhi has been shown to suppress progression and invasiveness of metastatic breast cancers, according to a study done at the Cancer Research Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute, Indianapolis.

Lingzhi has been shown anticancer effect on cell proliferation as well as colony formation of breast cancer cells.

This effect was mediated by the down-regulation of expression of oncogene c-myc in breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231 cells), i.e. desensitized genes that increase the malignancy of a tumor cell.

Israeli scientists claim that Lingzhi, used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, could treat prostate cancer, the University of Haifa said.

Researchers at the university in northern Israel said they found molecules in Lingzhi, which help suppress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer.

The compounds identified in Lingzhi were found help suppress some of the mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer. They disrupt the activity of androgen receptors and impede the proliferation of cancerous cells.

According to the researcher, prostate cancer - one of the most common cancers among men in the West - is controlled by the androgen receptor, especially in the initial stages of development of the disease. Therefore, all medications currently used to treat prostate cancer work to reduce the production of androgens or to interfere with their function via the androgen receptor.

“We already knew the mushroom could impede the development of cancer by affecting the immune system. The in-vitro trials we have done show that it attacks the cancer cells directly,” chief researcher Ben Zion Zaidman said.

Lingzhi effect on nasopharyngeal carcinoma:
 Five patients with stage III nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) were given 6 capsules of lingzhi 3 times a day for 1 week before radio- and chemotherapy and continued for a course of 8 months while they were given a complete course of irradiation lasting for 6 weeks. The chemotherapy regimen consisting of cyclophosphomide, lomustine, dannorubicin and vincristine was administered every month for a period of 4 months. Objective response occurred in all the NPC patients with very significant tumor shrinkage after 40 days of treatment with lingzhi in concurrence with radio- and chemotherapy.

The tumors were completely regressed after 90 days of combined treatment and were in remission for the last three and a half years. It is conceivable that lingzhi plays an adjuvant role in combination with radio- and chemotherapy, thereby rendering the complete regression of the tumors. Since both polysaccharides' and organic germanium derived from lingzhi are not cytotoxic to tumor cells, the antitumor effect is attributable to induced immunopotentiation. As an immunopotentiator, lingzhi accelerates the production of interlukin-2 from helper T cells and potentiates the induction of different types of anti-tumor cells, such as NK cells and cytotoxic macrophages, in addition to the induction of interferon production. The patients felt more energetic, and had a better appetite and slept better.


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30- Stanley G, Harvey K, Slivova V, Jiang V and Sliva D. Ganoderma lucidum supresess angiogenesis through the inhibition of secretion of VEGF and TGF-beta from prostate cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005; 330:46-52

31- Cao QZ and Lin ZB. Antitumor and anti-angiogenic activity of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2004; 25: 833-8

32- Jian J, Slivova V, Valachivocova T, Harvey K and Sulva D. Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells PC-3. Int J Oncol 2004; 24:1093-9

33- Hu H, Ahn NS, Yang X, Lee YS and Kang KS. Ganoderma lucidum extract induce cell cycle arrest an apoptosis in MCF-7 human breast cancer cell. Int J Cancer 2002; 20:250-3

34- Hsu MJ, Lee SS and Lin WW. Polysaccharide purified from Ganoderma lucidum inhibits spontaneous and Fas-mediated apoptosis in human neutrophils trough activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase/akt signaling pathway. J Leukoc Biol 2002;72:207-16

35- Sliva D, Sedlak M, Slivova V, Valachovicova T, Lloyd FP Jr. and Ho Nw. Biologic activity spores and dried powder from Ganoderma lucidum for the inhibition of a highly invasive human breast and prostate cancer cells. J Altern Complement Med. 2003; 9:491-7

36- Lin ZB and Zhang HN. Anti-tumor and inmunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2004; 25:1387-95

37- Jiang J, Slivova V, Harvey K, Valachovivocova T and Sliva D. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses growth of breast cancer cells trough the inhibition of Akt/NF-kappa? signaling. Nutr cancer 2004; 49:209-16

38- Sliva D, Labarrere C, Slivova V, Sedlak M, Lloyd FP Jr. and Ho NW. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses motility of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002; 298:603-12

39- Kimura Y, Taniguchi M and Baba K. Antitumor and antimetastatic effects on liver of tripertenoid fractions of Ganoderma lucidum: mechanism of action and isolation on an active substance. Anticancer Res 2002; 22:3309

40- Lu QY, Sartippour MR, Brooks MN et als. Ganoderma lucidum spore extract inhibit endothelial and breast cancer cells in vitro. Oncol Rep 2004; 12:659-62

41- Jiang J, Slivova and Sliva D. Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cells by down-regulation of strogen receptor and Akt/NF-kappa? signaling. Int J Oncol 2006; 29: 695-703

42- Liu J, Shimuzu K, Konishi F et als. The antiandrogenic effect of ganoderol B isloted from the fruiting body of Ganoderma lucidum. Bioorg Med. Chem 2007; 15: 4966-72

43- Zaidman BZ, Wasser SP, Nevo E et als. Coprinus comatus and Ganoderma lucidum interfere with androgen receptor function in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Mol Biol Rep 2008; 35: 107-117

44- Gao Y, Tang W, Dai X et. als. Effects of water – soluble Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on the immune functions of patients with advanced lung cancer. J Med Fod 2005; 8: 159-169

45- Cao QZ, Lin ZB. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide inhibits the grow of vascular endothelial cell and induction of VEGF in human lung cancer cell. Life Sci 2006; 78: 1457-1463

46- Tang W, Liu JW, Zao WM et als. Ganoderic acid T fro Ganoderma lucidum mycelia induces mithochondria mediated apoptosis in lung cancer cells. Life Sci. 2006; 80: 205-211

47- Yue QX, Xie FB, Guan SH et als. Interaction of Ganoderma triterpenes with doxorubicin and proteomic characterization of the possible molecular targets of ganoderma triterpenes. Cancer Sci 2008; 99:1461-70

48- Kim KC, Jun HJ, Kim JS et als. Enhancement of radiation response with combined Ganoderma lucidum and Duchesnea chrysanta extracts in human leukaemia HL-60 cells. Int J Mol Med. 2008; 21:489-98

49- Lu H, Uesaka T, Katoh O, Kyo E. et als. Prevention of paraneoplastic lesions, aberrant crypt foci, by a water-soluble extract from cultured medium of Ganoderma lucidum (Rhei-shi) mycelia in male F344 rats. Oncol Rep 2001; 8:1341-5

50- Lu H, Kyo E, Uesaka. et als. Prevention of development of N, N’ –dimethylhydralazine-induced colon tumors by a water-soluble extract from cultured medium of Ganoderma lucidum (Rhei-shi) mycelia in ICR mice. Int J Mol Med 2002; 9:113-7

51- Hong KJ, Dunn DM, Shen CL et als. Effects of Ganoderma lucidum an apoptotic and anti-inflamatory function in HT-29 human colonic carcinoma cells. Phytother Res 2004; 18:768-770

52- Xie JT, Wang CZ, Wicks S et als. Ganoderma lucidum extract inhibits proliferation of SW 480 human colorectal cancer cells.

53- Lin SB, Li CH, Lee SS et als. Triterpene-enriched extracts from ganoderma lucidum inhibit growth of hepatoma cellsvia suppressing protein kinase C, activating-mitogen-activated protein kinases and G2-phase cell cycle arrest. Life Sci 2003; 72:2381-90

54- Weng CJ, Chau CF, Hsieh YS et als. Lucidenic acid inhibits PMA induced invasion of human hepatoma cells through inactivating MAPK/ERK signal transduction pathway reducing binding activities of NF-kappaB and AP-1. Carcinogenesis 2008; 29:147-56

55- Cheuk W, Cahn JK, Nuovo G et als. Regression of gastric large B-Cell-lymphoma accompanied by a florid lymphoma –like T-cell reaction: immunomodulatory effect of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi)? Int J Surg Pathol 2007; 15:180-6

56- Müller CI, Kumagai T, O’Kelly J. et als. Ganoderma lucidum causes apoptosis in leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma cells. Leuk Res 2006; 30: 841-8

57- Hsu CL, Yu YS and Yen Lucidenic acid B induces apoptosis in human leukaemia cells via mitochondria-mediated pathway. J Agric Food Chem 2008; 56:3973-80

58- Lu QY, Jin YS, Zhang Q et als. Ganoderma lucidum extracts inhibit growth and induce actin polymerization in bladder cancer cells in vitro. Cancer Lett. 2004; 216:9-20

59- Yuen JWm Gohel MD and Au DW. Telomerase –associated apoptotic events by mushroom ganoderma lucidum on premalignant human urothelial cells. Nutr Cancer 2008; 60:109-19

Read more:

    * Xie, J.T.; Wang, C.Z.; Wicks, S.; Yin, J.J.; Kong, J.; Li, J.; Li, Y.C.; Yuan, C.S. (2006). "Ganoderma lucidum extract inhibits proliferation of SW 480 human colorectal cancer cells". Exp Oncol 28 (1): 25–9. PMID 1661470.
    * Müller, C.I.; Kumagai, T.; O’kelly, J.; Seeram, N.P.; Heber, D.; Koeffler, H.P. (2006). "Ganoderma lucidum causes apoptosis in leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma cells". Leukemia Research 30 (7): 841–848. doi:10.1016/j.leukres.2005.12.004.
    * Gao, Y.; Tang, W.; Dai, X.; Gao, H.; Chen, G.; Ye, J.; Chan, E.; Koh, H.L.; Li, X.; Zhou, S. (2005). "Effects of water-soluble Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on the immune functions of patients with advanced lung cancer". J Med Food 8 (2): 159–168. doi:10.1089/jmf.2005.8.159.


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