The Standardized Cultured Extract of Lentinula edodes Mycelia (also known as Active Hexose Correlated Compound, AHCC) and Wasabia japonica (Wasabi) are natural nutritional supplements known for their immunomodulatory and anticancer potential. The aim of this study was to evaluate the combinatorial effect of the bioactive immunomodulatory compound (BAIC), obtained by combining Wasabi and AHCC, on human breast (MCF-7) and pancreatic (Panc02) adenocarcinoma cell lines. Data obtained revealed that BAIC determines a striking decline in cancer cell growth at minimal concentrations compared with the use of Wasabi and AHCC as single agents. A significant increase in the G0/G1 subpopulation together with a marked augmentation in the percentage of apoptotic cells was demonstrated by flow cytometry, together with a significant upregulation in the expression of genes associated to the apoptotic cascade in both cell lines. The inhibitory role BAIC plays in mammospheres formation from MCF-7-derived cancer stem cells was shown with a marked reduction in size and number. Interestingly, when BAIC was exposed to monocytic cells, no cytotoxic effects were observed. A monocytes-to-macrophages differentiation was rather observed with the concomitant acquisition of an anti-inflammatory phenotype. Taken together, our findings suggest that BAIC could be used as a potential integration of standard chemotherapy treatments because of the improved inhibitory activity on cancer cell proliferation and reduced potential adverse effects.
Keywords: Active Hexose Correlated Compound; Wasabi; apoptosis; cancer cells; cell cycle; gene regulation; glucans; immunomodulation; integrative medicine; paracrine signals.