A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Mushrooms Bookmark and Share

Mushrooms may need more might for the cancer fight

Can white button mushrooms stop prostate cancer recurrence? In a recent clinical trial at City of Hope, two patients experienced tremendous success with tablets made from concentrated white button mushrooms. Watch this story unfold.


Behold the formidable fungus.     

 

Not quite plant and not quite animal, it grows in out-of-the-way spots, avoiding attention. But if new studies at City of Hope bear fruit, the white button mushroom may enter the spotlight.

 

City of Hope scientists are on their way toward incorporating mushrooms in a cancer-fighting strategy.

 

Over the last decade, City of Hope researchers identified and tested cancer-inhibiting compounds in the common supermarket mushroom. Their work has moved into clinical trials at City of Hope, including one that tested whether consuming mushroom extract could stave off breast cancer recurrence in postmenopausal patients.

 

Early findings from that study showed that the doses of mushroom extract that were tested blocked activity of an enzyme important to breast cancer, but not at levels likely to deter the disease. The work encourages scientists to hone their potential strategy for prevention.

 

“Future studies should focus on more highly concentrated preparations of mushroom extract,” said Melanie Palomares, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medical oncology and director of the High Risk Breast Program, who presented the results at the meeting.

 

In earlier work, Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., chair and professor of City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Biology, found that phytochemicals — naturally occurring plant chemicals — in mushrooms can block the activity of the enzyme called aromatase.

 

Aromatase helps the body produce the hormone estrogen, which many breast cancers need to grow. Blocking the enzyme chokes off the supply of estrogen to tumor cells, stunting their growth. Several drugs that block aromatase are already part of medicine’s arsenal against breast cancer.

 

Mushrooms’ natural aromatase-inhibiting properties might offer a dietary, non-drug intervention to help prevent recurrence of hormone-dependent breast cancers, according to the researchers.

 

The current study, which aimed to find an effective dose of mushroom extract, centered on postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who were cancer-free after they finished their treatment.

 

Women in the study took white button mushroom extract daily for 12 weeks. They were divided into groups that received either 5-, 8-, 10- or 13-gram doses. The researchers checked patients’ responses by measuring blood levels of estradiol, a close chemical relative of estrogen. Women whose estradiol level dropped by 50 percent or more were deemed to have responded to the intervention.

 

Patients tolerated the extract well, but the estradiol level failed to drop by 50 percent or more in any group. The researchers did see evidence of modest aromatase inhibition that lasted as long as six hours at the highest dose level. The result suggested that eating mushrooms can weakly inhibit aromatase in patients, but much higher amounts likely are necessary for a clinically significant result.

 

“Over the course of 12 weeks, we were able to observe phytochemical activity, but not at high enough concentrations to significantly reduce circulating estrogen levels in our patients,” Palomares said. In addition to trying higher concentrations of mushroom extract in future studies, the scientists also may change the way they measure estrogens in the body. “The local estrogen level in the breast is likely more significant clinically than what circulates in the bloodstream.”

 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms may need more might for the cancer fight

Can white button mushrooms stop prostate cancer recurrence? In a recent clinical trial at City of Hope, two patients experienced tremendous success with tablets made from concentrated white button mushrooms. Watch this story unfold.


Behold the formidable fungus.     

 

Not quite plant and not quite animal, it grows in out-of-the-way spots, avoiding attention. But if new studies at City of Hope bear fruit, the white button mushroom may enter the spotlight.

 

City of Hope scientists are on their way toward incorporating mushrooms in a cancer-fighting strategy.

 

Over the last decade, City of Hope researchers identified and tested cancer-inhibiting compounds in the common supermarket mushroom. Their work has moved into clinical trials at City of Hope, including one that tested whether consuming mushroom extract could stave off breast cancer recurrence in postmenopausal patients.

 

Early findings from that study showed that the doses of mushroom extract that were tested blocked activity of an enzyme important to breast cancer, but not at levels likely to deter the disease. The work encourages scientists to hone their potential strategy for prevention.

 

“Future studies should focus on more highly concentrated preparations of mushroom extract,” said Melanie Palomares, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medical oncology and director of the High Risk Breast Program, who presented the results at the meeting.

 

In earlier work, Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., chair and professor of City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Biology, found that phytochemicals — naturally occurring plant chemicals — in mushrooms can block the activity of the enzyme called aromatase.

 

Aromatase helps the body produce the hormone estrogen, which many breast cancers need to grow. Blocking the enzyme chokes off the supply of estrogen to tumor cells, stunting their growth. Several drugs that block aromatase are already part of medicine’s arsenal against breast cancer.

 

Mushrooms’ natural aromatase-inhibiting properties might offer a dietary, non-drug intervention to help prevent recurrence of hormone-dependent breast cancers, according to the researchers.

 

The current study, which aimed to find an effective dose of mushroom extract, centered on postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who were cancer-free after they finished their treatment.

 

Women in the study took white button mushroom extract daily for 12 weeks. They were divided into groups that received either 5-, 8-, 10- or 13-gram doses. The researchers checked patients’ responses by measuring blood levels of estradiol, a close chemical relative of estrogen. Women whose estradiol level dropped by 50 percent or more were deemed to have responded to the intervention.

 

Patients tolerated the extract well, but the estradiol level failed to drop by 50 percent or more in any group. The researchers did see evidence of modest aromatase inhibition that lasted as long as six hours at the highest dose level. The result suggested that eating mushrooms can weakly inhibit aromatase in patients, but much higher amounts likely are necessary for a clinically significant result.

 

“Over the course of 12 weeks, we were able to observe phytochemical activity, but not at high enough concentrations to significantly reduce circulating estrogen levels in our patients,” Palomares said. In addition to trying higher concentrations of mushroom extract in future studies, the scientists also may change the way they measure estrogens in the body. “The local estrogen level in the breast is likely more significant clinically than what circulates in the bloodstream.”

 
City of Hope combines compassionate care with the best and most innovative science. Our 100+ acre campus is designed to meet the full range of needs of our patients and families. This guide is designed to help you take advantage of all that is offered at City of Hope - Duarte.
To make an appointment for yourself, a family member or a friend, please complete and submit our Become a Patient Request Form, or call City of Hope at
800-826-HOPE (4673).
Contact Us
Phone: (800) 826-HOPE (4673)
 
Hours: M – F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST)
 
Calls received after 5 p.m. will be returned the next business day.
Patient Care Overview

Info for Referring Physicians
City of hope welcomes patient referrals from physicians throughout the world. City of Hope is located near northeast Los Angeles, in Duarte, California.



NEWS & UPDATES
  • Equipping the immune system to fight cancer – a disease that thrives on mutations and circumventing the body’s natural defenses – is within reach. In fact, City of Hope researchers are testing one approach in clinical trials now. Scientists take a number of steps to turn cancer patients’ T cells – white b...
  • As treatments for lung cancer become more targeted and effective, the need for better technology to detect lung cancer mutations becomes increasingly important. A new clinical study at City of Hope is examining the feasibility of using blood and urine tests to detect lung cancer mutations, potentially allowing ...
  • When it comes to breast cancer risk, insulin levels may matter more than weight, new research has found. The study from Imperial College London School of Public Health, published in the journal Cancer Research, indicates that metabolic health – not a person’s weight or body mass index – increases breast cancer ...
  • No one ever plans to have cancer – and there’s never a good time. For Homa Sadat, her cancer came at a particularly bad time: just one year after losing her father to the pancreatic cancer he had battled for two years. She was working a grueling schedule managing three commercial office buildings. She’d just [&...
  • Patients at City of Hope – most of whom are fighting cancer – rely on more than 37,000 units of blood and platelets each year for their treatment and survival. Every one of those units comes from family, friends or someone who traded an hour or so of their time and a pint of their […]
  • Surgery is vital in the treatment of cancer – it’s used to help diagnose, treat and even prevent the disease – so a new colorectal cancer study linking a decrease in surgeries for advanced cancer to increased survival rates may raise more questions than it answers for some patients. The surgery-and-surviv...
  • Age is the single greatest risk factor overall for cancer; our chances of developing the disease rise steeply after age 50. For geriatric oncology nurse Peggy Burhenn, the meaning is clear: Cancer is primarily a geriatric condition. That’s why she is forging inroads in the care of older adults with cancer. Burh...
  • One of American’s great sportscasters, Stuart Scott, passed away from recurrent cancer of the appendix at the young age of 49. His cancer was diagnosed when he was only 40 years old. It was found during an operation for appendicitis. His courageous fight against this disease began in 2007, resumed again with an...
  • When Homa Sadat found a lump in her breast at age 27, her gynecologist told her what many doctors say to young women: You’re too young to have breast cancer. With the lump dismissed as a harmless cyst, she didn’t think about it again until she was at a restaurant six months later and felt […]
  • What most people call a “bone marrow transplant” is not actually a transplant of bone marrow; it is instead the transplantation of what’s known as hematopoietic stem cells. Such cells are often taken from bone marrow, but not always. Hematopoietic stem cells are simply immature cells that can ...
  • Doctors have long known that women with a precancerous condition called atypical hyperplasia have an elevated risk of breast cancer. Now a new study has found that the risk is more serious than previously thought. Hyperplasia itself is an overgrowth of cells; atypical hyperplasia is an overgrowth in a distorted...
  • Don’t kid yourself. Just because it’s mid-January doesn’t mean it’s too late to make resolutions for a happier, and healthier, 2015. Just consider them resolutions that are more mature than those giddy, sometimes self-deluded, Jan. 1 resolutions. To that end, we share some advice from Cary A. Presant, M.D., an ...
  • Sales and marketing executive Jim Murphy first came to City of Hope in 2002 to donate blood for a friend who was being treated for esophageal cancer. The disease is serious. Although esophageal cancer accounts for only about 1 percent of cancer diagnoses in the U.S., only about 20 percent of patients survive at...
  • Aaron Bomar and his family were celebrating his daughter’s 33rd birthday in September 2014 when he received alarming news: According to an X-ray taken earlier that day at an urgent care facility, he had a node on his aorta and was in danger of an aneurysm. Bomar held hands with his wife and daughter and s...
  • Explaining a prostate cancer diagnosis to a young child can be difficult — especially when the cancer is incurable. But conveying the need for prostate cancer research, as it turns out, is easily done. And that leads to action. Earlier this year, Gerald Rustad, 71, who is living with a very aggressive form of m...