Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quél. is a higher fungi or mushroom which is now known by its accepted scientific name as Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (family Polyporaceae). The polysaccharides, primarily two commercial products from China and Japan as PSP and PSK, respectively, have been claimed to serve as adjuvant therapy for cancer. In this paper, research advances in this field, including direct cytotoxicity in cancer cells and immunostimulatory effects, are scrutinised at three levels: in vitro, in vivo and clinical outcomes. The level of activity in the various cancers, key targets (both in cancer and immune cells) and pharmacological efficacies are discussed.
Keywords: Coriolus versicolor; PSK; PSP; Trametes; adjuvant therapy; cancer; immunostimulation; polysaccharides.