Lanostanoids from fungi: a group of potential anticancer compounds

J Nat Prod. 2012 Nov 26;75(11):2016-44. doi: 10.1021/np300412h. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


Lanostanes are a group of tetracyclic triterpenoids derived from lanosterol. They have relevant biological and pharmacological properties, such as their cytotoxic effects via induction of apoptosis. This review compiles the most relevant lanostanoids studied from 2000 to 2011, principally those isolated from Ganoderma lucidum and other related fungi, such as Poria cocos, Laetiporus sulphureus, Inonotus obliquus, Antrodia camphorata, Daedalea dickinsii, and Elfvingia applanata, which have great potential as anticancer agents because of their cytotoxic or apoptotic effects. The compounds were selected on the basis of their proapoptotic mechanisms, through their ability to modify transcriptional activities via nuclear factors or genes and the activation or inhibition of pro- or antiapoptotic proteins; studies based only on their cytotoxicity were excluded from this review in the absence of complementary studies on their mechanisms of action. A total of 81 compounds from Ganoderma lucidum and other species from this genus are included, as well as 96 compounds isolated from other fungi, principally Poria cocos. Some of these compounds were found to arrest the cell cycle in the G1 phase, increase levels of p53 and Bax, or inhibit the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 or the activation of NF-κB and AP-1. Other lanostanes have inhibitory effects on the growth of androgen prostate carcinoma through increasing the expression of p21, which activates the tumor suppressor protein p53, while other compounds have been shown to selectively inhibit topo II activity without affecting topo I. General considerations concerning the chemical structure-biological activities of these compounds are also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Ganoderma / chemistry*
  • Lanosterol* / analogs & derivatives
  • Lanosterol* / chemistry
  • Lanosterol* / pharmacology
  • Molecular Structure


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Lanosterol