Cancer Therapy Volume 6 Issue A

Page 121

Cancer Therapy Vol 6, page 117 Cancer Therapy Vol 6, 117-130, 2008

General review of polysaccharopeptides (PSP) from C. versicolor: Pharmacological and clinical studies Review Article

King-Fai Cheng, Ping-Chung Leung* Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

__________________________________________________________________________________ *Correspondence: Prof. Ping-Chung LEUNG, DsocS(Hon), D.Sc, M.S, Director, Centre for Clinical Trials on Chinese Medicine 5/F, The CUHK Hong Kong Jockey Club School of Public Health Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR; Tel: (852) 2632 2723/ 2252 8872; Fax: (852) 2686 8463/ 2632 5441; E-mail: Key words: Coriolus Versicolor (Yunzhi); polysaccharopeptide (PSP); immunomodulation; anti-tumor Abbreviations: biological response modifiers (BRM); Coriolus versicolor (CV); cyclophosphamide (CPA); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Interleukine-2 (IL-2); intraperitoneal (i.p.); National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM); Natural Killer Cells (NK cells); Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS); polysaccharopeptide (PSP); polysaccharopeptide Krestin (PSK) Received: 20 December 2007; Revised: 30 January 2008 Accepted: 5 February 2008; electronically published: February 2008

Summary In China, C. versicolor is named Yun Zhi (meaning “cloud-like mushroom”). C. versicolor is mainly used as an adjuvant in the treatment of cancer. The active principle derived from C. versicolor belongs to a new class of elements called biological response modifiers (BRM) which are defined as agents capable of stimulating the immune system and thereby, they express various therapeutic effects. The best know commercial polysaccharopeptide preparations of C. versicolor are polysaccharopeptide Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide (PSP). One of the most important functions of PSP and PSK is their immunomodulatory and anti-cancer actions. The present paper reviewed and summarized the pharmacological and clinical properties, as well as its background of Coriolus versicolor or PSP.

According to the record of Ben Cao Gang Mu (!"#$) written during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), there were over 120 strain of C. versicolor (Hyde and Adams, 1960). Recent literatures report that more than 270 medicinal fungi are used in traditional Chinese medicine for their preventive and/or curative effects (Ding, 1987; Ying et al, 1987). In the clinical practice of traditional Chinese medicine, C. versicolor is recommended for various types of cancers, chronic hepatitis, and infections of the upper respiratory, urinary, and digestive tracts (Jong and Yang, 1999; Li, 2003). In Asia, C. versicolor extract is available as a health supplement and can be purchased without a prescription. In both China and Japan, health authorities regard C. versicolor extract as a valuable adjuvant for combination chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the treatment of various cancers (Mizuno, 1999; Yan et al, 2000; Chu et al, 2002). The present paper reviews and summarizes the pharmacological and clinical properties, as well as its background of Coriolus versicolor or PSP.

I. Introduction Mushrooms have an established history of use in traditional oriental therapies. In Asian cultures, mushrooms are combined with herbal mixtures to treat cancer. The mushroom Coriolus Versicolor (C. versicolor) is a macrofungi belonging to the Basidiomycetes class, which encompasses about 20,000 and 25,000 known species (Gregory and Hirst, 1957; Hyde and Adams, 1960). In China, C. versicolor is named Yun Zhi (meaning “cloud-like mushroom”). Researches have found that this mushroom has antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-tumor properties (Jong and Birmingham, 1993; Ulrike et al, 2005). Nowadays C. versicolor is mainly used as an adjuvant in the treatment of cancer (Tsang et al, 2003; Hattori et al, 2004). It has been demonstrated that extracts obtained from this mushroom are likely to show stimulatory effects on the immune system and to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Because of these properties, Yun Zhi is called a biological response modifier (BRM) (Leung et al, 2006).


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