Immunostimulatory and anticancer effect of Reishi and Coriol extracts at the level of clinical studies and their implementation in practice

Klin Onkol. 2020 Winter;33(6):426-434.


Background: Mushrooms Reishi and Coriolus have been used for centuries in Asian countries to treat various diseases, mainly respiratory tract infections or pulmonary diseases, and more recently also cancers. Polysaccharides and triterpenes, which are found in these mushrooms, are their main bio-active components. Preclinical and clinical studies in humans presented their beneficial effects as immunomodulators; besides this, they possess a direct anticancer effect. In Asia, they are used after cancer treatment as single agents or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Extracts from Coriolus have been approved for more than 30 years as an effective adjuvant addition to standard cancer treatment in Japan and China without obvious toxicity.

Purpose: In this review, clinical studies with Reishi and Coriolus in cancer patients and their meta-analyses are briefly summarized.

Conclusion: Both extracts from Reishi and Coriolus, if used in combination with standard therapy or as an adjuvant single agent, have shown benefits at immune function measures, tumor-related symptoms and performance status of cancer patients. Moreover, they have prolonged their disease-free interval and overall survival. They are well tolerated even in advanced cancer diseases and could be safely used continuously for long periods of time. Because of clinically approved efficacy and safety, they are applied mainly in some countries as a complementary therapy for various types of cancers.

Keywords: Reishi – Ganoderma lucidum – polysaccharides – Coriolus – polysaccharide K – PSK – polysaccharide peptide – PSP – immunostimulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Complex Mixtures / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Polyporales*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Complex Mixtures