Anti-cancer activities of Ganoderma lucidum: active ingredients and pathways
Ganoderma lucidum, commonly referred to as Lingzhi, has been used in Asia for health promotion for centuries. The anti-cancer effects of G. lucidum have been demonstrated in both in vitro and in vivo studies. In addition, the observed anti-cancer activities of Ganoderma have prompted its usage by cancer patients alongside chemotherapy. The main two bioactive components of G. lucidum can be broadly grouped into triterpenes and polysaccharides. Despite triterpenes and polysaccharides being widely known as the major active ingredients, the different biological pathways by which they exert their anti-cancer effect remain poorly defined. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms of action may lead to more widespread use of Ganoderma as an anti-cancer agent. The aim of this paper is to summarise the various bioactive mechanisms that have been proposed for the anti-cancer properties of triterpenes and polysaccharides extracted from G. lucidum. A literature search of published papers on NCBI with keywords “Ganoderma” and “cancer” was performed. Among those, studies which specifically examined the anti-cancer activities of Ganoderma triterpenes and polysaccharides were selected to be included in this paper. We have found five potential mechanisms which are associated with the anti-cancer activities of Ganoderma triterpenes and three potential mechanisms for Ganoderma polysaccharides. In addition, G. lucidum has been used in combination with known anti-cancer agents to improve the anti-cancer efficacies. This suggests Ganoderma’s bioactive pathways may compliment that of anti-cancer agents. In this paper we present several potential anti-cancer mechanisms of Ganoderma triterpenes and polysaccharides which can be used for the development of Ganoderma as an anti-cancer agent.
Keywords: Ganoderma lucidum, cancer, bioactive pathways, triterpene, polysaccharide
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Copyright (c) 2013 Chi Kao, Amalini C. Jesuthasan, Karen S. Bishop, Marcus P. Glucina, Lynnette R. Ferguson
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