Ganoderma lucidum total triterpenes induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells and attenuate DMBA induced mammary and skin carcinomas in experimental animals

Mutat Res. 2017 Jan;813:45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2016.11.010. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Ganoderma lucidum total triterpenes were evaluated for its apoptosis-inducing and anti-cancer activities. Cytotoxicity and pro-apoptotic effect of total triterpenes were evaluated in human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cell line using MTT assay and DNA fragmentation analysis. Total triterpenes induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells by down-regulating the levels of cyclin D1, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and also by up-regulating the levels of Bax and caspase-9. Anti-carcinogenicity of total triterpenes was analysed using dimethyl benz [a] anthracene (DMBA) induced skin papilloma and mammary adenocarcinoma in Swiss albino mice and Wistar rats respectively. Topical application of 5mg, 10mg and 20mg total triterpenes reduced the incidence of skin papilloma by 62.5, 37.5 and 12.5% respectively. Incidence of the mammary tumour was also reduced significantly by 33.33, 66.67 and 16.67% in 10, 50 and 100mg/kg b.wt. total triterpenes treated animals respectively. Total triterpenes were also found to reduce the average number of tumours per animal and extended the tumour latency period in both the models. The results indicate the potential cytotoxicity and anti-cancerous activity of total triterpenes, there by opens up a path to the development of a safe and successive chemo preventive agent of natural origin.

Keywords: Anti-cancer; Apoptosis; Bcl-xL; Cytotoxicity; DMBA.

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reishi / chemistry*
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Triterpenes
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene