Anti-lung cancer activity through enhancement of immunomodulation and induction of cell apoptosis of total triterpenes extracted from Ganoderma luncidum (Leyss. ex Fr.) Karst

Molecules. 2013 Aug 19;18(8):9966-81. doi: 10.3390/molecules18089966.


Ganoderma luncidum (Leyss. ex Fr.) Karst. (GLK) has been used traditionally for the prevention and treatment of cancers or tumors for a long time in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The triterpenes as main effective components of GLK have been found to be beneficial for the efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the anti-lung cancer activity of triterpenes of GLK in vitro and in vivo and to explore their anti-lung cancer effects and potential mechanisms. A549 cells and Lewis tumor-bearing mice were used to evaluate the inhibition effects of triterpenes on cell proliferation and tumor growth. The IC50 of triterpenes of GLK on A549 cells was 24.63 μg/mL. Triterpenes of GLK could significantly inhibit tumor growth in mice (30, 60 and 120 mg/kg). The immune organs indexes including spleen and thymus were increased remarkedly by the treatment with triterpenes. Moreover, they were able to stimulate the immune response by increasing the expressions of IL-6 and TNF-α. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that cell arrest caused by triterpenes treatment (7.5, 15 and 30 μg/mL) was in the G2/M phase in A549 cells. Triterpenes induced apoptosis by decreasing the expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 and pro-caspase 9 and increasing the levels of cleaved-caspase 9. Our findings suggested that the triterpenes of GLK have anti-lung cancer activity in vitro and in vivo via enhancement of immunomodulation and induction of cell apoptosis. The study provides insights into the mechanism of GLK in the prevention and treatment of lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Ganoderma / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Triterpenes / chemistry*
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Triterpenes