Medicinal mushroom modulators of molecular targets as cancer therapeutics

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2005 Jun;67(4):453-68. doi: 10.1007/s00253-004-1787-z. Epub 2005 Feb 23.


Empirical approaches to discover anticancer drugs and cancer treatments have made limited progress in the past several decades in finding a cure for cancer. The expanded knowledge of the molecular basis of tumorigenesis and metastasis, together with the inherently vast structural diversity of natural compounds found in mushrooms, provided unique opportunities for discovering new drugs that rationally target the abnormal molecular and biochemical signals leading to cancer. This review focuses on mushroom low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites targeting processes such as apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, cell cycle regulation, and signal transduction cascades. Also discussed in this review are high-molecular-weight polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes from mushrooms that appear to enhance innate and cell-mediated immune responses, exhibit antitumor activities in animals and humans, and demonstrate the anticancer properties of selenium compounds accumulated in mushrooms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Agaricales / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Polysaccharides