For the past several decades, cancer patients in the U.S. have chosen the use of natural products as an alternative or complimentary medicine approach to treat or improve their quality of life via reduction or prevention of the side effects during or after cancer treatment. The genus Ganoderma includes about 80 species of mushrooms, of which several have been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine for their medicinal properties, including anticancer and immunoregulatory effects. Numerous bioactive compounds seem to be responsible for their healing effects. Among the approximately 400 compounds produced by Ganoderma spp., triterpenes, peptidoglycans and polysaccharides are the major physiologically-active constituents. Ganoderma anticancer effects are attributed to its efficacy in reducing cancer cell survival and growth, as well as by its chemosensitizing role. In vitro and in vivo studies have been conducted in various cancer cells and animal models; however, in this review, we focus on Ganoderma's efficacy on breast cancers. Evidence shows that some species of Ganoderma have great potential as a natural therapeutic for breast cancer. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to investigate their potential in the clinical setting and to translate our basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for cancer patients.
Keywords: Ganoderma; NF-κB; PI3K/AKT/mTOR; breast cancer; cell death; chemoresistance; invasion; metastasis; migration; natural medicine.