Reduction of adverse effects by a mushroom product, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) in patients with advanced cancer during chemotherapy--the significance of the levels of HHV-6 DNA in saliva as a surrogate biomarker during chemotherapy

Nutr Cancer. 2014;66(3):377-82. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.884232. Epub 2014 Mar 10.


Chemotherapy improves the outcome of cancer treatment, but patients are sometimes forced to discontinue chemotherapy or drop out of a clinical trial due to adverse effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances and suppression of bone marrow function. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a mushroom product, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), on chemotherapy-induced adverse effects and quality of life (QOL) in patients with cancer. Twenty-four patients with cancer received their first cycle of chemotherapy without AHCC and then received their second cycle with AHCC. During chemotherapy, we weekly evaluated adverse effects and QOL via a blood test, EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire, and DNA levels of herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6) in saliva. The DNA levels of HHV-6 were significantly increased after chemotherapy. Interestingly, administration of AHCC significantly decreased the levels of HHV-6 in saliva during chemotherapy and improved not only QOL scores in the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire but also hematotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. These findings suggest that salivary HHV-6 levels may be a good biomarker of QOL in patients during chemotherapy, and that AHCC may have a beneficial effect on chemotherapy-associated adverse effects and QOL in patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life
  • Saliva / virology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA, Viral
  • Polysaccharides
  • Active Hexose Correlated Compound