A study carried out with mice, which was virtually presented at ENDO 2021, the annual meeting of the US Endocrine Society, has concluded that the chemicals present in mushrooms could slow the progression of prostate cancer by suppressing the androgen receptor activity.
"Androgens are a type of male sex hormone that promote the growth of prostate cancer cells by binding and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells," stated lead researcher Xiaoqiang Wang, from the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center in Duarte, California. "Mushrooms appear to suppress androgen receptor activity."
Dr. Shiuan Chen of City of Hope, the principal investigator on this project, had previously conducted a phase one clinical trial with white mushroom powder in patients with recurrent prostate cancer. The trial indicated that mushrooms reduced levels of prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) in the blood, with minimal side effects. Increased levels of PSA in men's blood may indicate the existence of prostate tumors.
The new study aimed to understand the mechanism behind this finding. To do this, the researchers studied the effect of the mushroom extract on androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells. They also studied the effect of the extract in mice implanted with human prostate tumors, creating an animal model with results that would be more reliable when moving the research into human clinical trials.
The researchers found that mushroom extract suppressed the activity of the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells. They also found that prostate tumor growth was significantly suppressed and PSA levels decreased in mice treated with this extract for six days.
"More research is needed, but it's possible that mushrooms may one day contribute to the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer," Wang stated.