Taiwan mushroom’s cancer cell destroying properties pose potential treatment benefits

By Millette Burgos

- Last updated on GMT

Antrodia salmonea helps kill cancer cells, said study.
Antrodia salmonea helps kill cancer cells, said study.

Related tags Cancer

A medicinal mushroom from Taiwan helped kill off human breast cancer cells implanted in mice, said a new study.

The anti-cancer properties of the Antrodia salmonea (AS) improved autophagy (cellular self-digestion) and apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast cancer cells, revealed researchers from China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan.

“Because induction of autophagy/apoptosis by chemical substances has been considered to be a great approach in cancer treatment, we assume that treatment of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) with Antrodia salmonea could be a valid strategy to control the malignancy,”​ researchers wrote in a soon-to-be-published manuscript for Food and Chemical Toxicology​.

“Therefore, we examined the potential therapeutic effects of AS fermented culture broth on human TNBC cells.”

In vitro experiments

Aside from the in vivo​ experiment involving the mice, the study also conducted in vitro ​experiments investigating the effects of AS on cancer cell viability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and key molecular signalling proteins involved in autophagy and apoptosis.

“In our study, AS stimulated the autophagic and apoptotic cascades as a death mechanism in TNBC cells. It has been well documented that overwhelming production of ROS, and excessive degradation of mitochondria and molecules that are critical for cell survival may lead to autophagic-cell death,”​ researchers wrote.

For the in vivo​ study, eight mice were first injected with TNBC cells infused with luciferase, a type of enzyme that produces bioluminescence. Then the mice were treated with AS in 50 or 100mg doses every three days for 30 days.

Findings showed that AS activated both autophagy and apoptasis as ‘death mechanisms’ in TNBC, while bioluminescence imaging data revealed AS decreased the tumour growth.

With these results, the study suggested that the potent cytotoxic effects of AS could become a potential therapeutic approach for development of anti-cancer drugs targeted at treating aggressive TNBC cells.

“Our findings provide promising evidence AS induces cancer cell death via both autophagy and apoptosis mechanisms in TNBC cells,” ​the study concluded.

Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology

DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.02.019

“Inhibition of ROS production, autophagy or apoptosis signaling reversed the anticancer properties of Antrodia salmonea in triple-negative breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) cells”

Authors: Chang Chia-Ting, Mallikarjuna Korivi, et al.

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