Four Mushroom Extract Products That Are Effective for Breast Cancer Prevention and Healing

As mentioned in the previous article  Mushrooms For Breast Cancer, results from the laboratory have shown that that the oral intake of mushroom extract suppresses breast tumor formation in mice.

The evidence suggests that mushrooms act in a similar way to breast cancer drugs called aromatose inhibitors, which blocks the body’s production of the breast cancer-feeding hormone estrogen.

The following four mushroom products are well-known for their effectiveness against breast cancer.

1. White button mushroom extract

Of all the mushrooms studied, white button mushrooms have among the most powerful proven breast cancer chemo-preventive properties, since they have been shown to suppress aromatase activity and estrogen biosynthesis, in addition to inhibiting proliferation of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells.

Several studies have concluded that diets high in white button mushrooms may lower the risk of estrogen receptor breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women, by reducing the production of estrogen from androgen in the body.

In estrogen-dependent breast tumors, estrogen stimulates the formation of growth factors that are essential for breast cancer growth. In cells, a protein called aromatase produces estrogen, and in breast cancer patients, tumors contain an abnormally high level of aromatase, which generates a large amount of estrogen.

White button mushroom extracts suppress breast cancer cell growth by preventing the synthesis of estrogen, the female hormone. Estrogen plays a major role in the development of breast cancer.

White button mushrooms contain natural aromatase inhibitors, substances that can block production of estrogen in the body. Today, pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitors are the first line in breast cancer treatment in women whose tumors are estrogen receptor positive (dependent on the hormone to grow and spread).

Phytochemicals, such as polysaccharides and especially beta-D-glucans found in the white button mushroom extract, bind to and inhibit the activity of aromatase, an enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens to estrogens and which is often unregulated in breast cancer cells. The consequent decrease in estrogen production may result in the suppression of estrogen-dependent cellular proliferation.

2. Reishi mushroom extract

Reishi mushroom extracts have been shown to inhibit proliferation, adhesion, angiogenesis, migration, and invasion of several types of breast cancer cells.

The addition of green tea extract to Reishi extract has been shown to have a synergistic effect in the inhibiting adhesion, migration and invasion of estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative (ER-/PR-) breast cancer cells.

Reishi extract has been shown to be effective in inhibiting inflammatory breast cancer progression, one of the few foods to have demonstrated suppressive impact on this form of the disease.

Researchers reporting in the International Journal of Oncology stated that Reishi Mushroom (Latin nameGanoderma lucidum) is a “suitable herb for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of breast cancer.”  That is a very strong statement coming from a prestigious cancer journal.  The authors made the statement in the most recent of 51 studies on the effects of Reishi Mushroom Extract on cancer.  Other research has confirmed the effect on breast cancer as well as prostate cancer.

Reishi has been shown to have antineoplastic and immunomodulatory effects in animal studies. One clinical trial and two case reports exist on advanced cancer patients using Ganopoly®, a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract. Results show improved quality of life and enhanced immune responses, which are typically reduced or damaged in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

3. Mesima extract

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Extracts from a mushroom used for centuries in Eastern Asian medicine may stop breast cancer cells from growing and could become a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

A press release from Cancer Research UK reports that an extract of the mushroom Phellinus linteus has been found to halt the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro. Previous studies have also shown the species to be effective against other forms of cancer cells, but up until now nobody knew how it worked.

Phellinus linteus extract, also known as Mesima Mushroom Extract, has been traditionally used in Korea for ages as an anti-cancer product.

Mesima, popularly known as  ‘Black Hoof Fungus,’ is common on broadleaf trees in the southern United States and other sub-tropical and tropical parts of the world.  It often grows on oaks, mulberries and poplars.

Laboratory tests using human breast cancer cells show that Phellinus linteus has a marked anti-breast cancer effect, probably by blocking an enzyme called AKT. AKT is known to control signals that lead to cell growth.

Phellinus linteus — called song gen in Chinese medicine, sang-hwang in Korean and meshimakobu in Japanese — has previously been shown to have anti-tumor properties on skin, lung and prostate cancer cells.

Studies have shown that, Mesima extract has the highest rate of tumor inhibition activity. A study found that polysaccharides extracted from the mycelium of Mesima had a wider spectrum of activity and anti-tumor effects than polysaccharides from other species of mushrooms.  A study in 2000 at Seoul University, comparing different species of mushrooms, found a 96.7% breast-tumor inhibition rate. Mesima extract also helped the rapid recovery of the immune system after chemotherapy to near normal conditions.

Researchers believe that dietary supplements containing the extract could help ward off potential cancers, and the research could eventually lead to the development of new drugs.

Dr Daniel Sliva of the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis said the mushroom extract reduced uncontrolled growth of new cancer cells, suppressed their aggressive behavior and blocked new tumor-feeding blood vessels.

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4. Maitake mushroom extract

Maitake is an edible mushroom from the species Grifola frondosa.

A substantial body of research documents the effects of maitake mushroom extracts limiting or preventing tumor growth, enhancing the benefits of chemotherapy, and lessening anti-cancer drug side effects

In 2009, a phase I/II human trial showed Maitake could stimulate the immune system of breast cancer patients. Small experiments with human cancer patients revealed Maitake stimulated the patients natural killer cells. In vitro research has also shown Maitake can stimulate the activity of natural killer cells.

Click here lo learn more on the benefits of Maitake mushroom extract for treating breast cancer.

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