Alternative treatments for breast cancer are sought due to the harmful side effects of medical treatments, such as malnutrition. Agaricus mushrooms and breast cancer were studied by the authors in a review of the scientific evidence in medical journals from 1990 to 2011. Mortality rates are high for breast cancer since it is often diagnosed at a late stage. Agaricales mushrooms have been used to improve nutrition, block cancer growth, and improve immunity against cancer cells.
Medicinal mushrooms contain the following chemicals: lectin, beta-glucan, ergosterol, and arginine. Lectins have been previously shown to cause apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells, inhibit angiogenesis, and block protein synthesis. Beta-glucans stimulate natural killer cells and other immune cells. Ergosterol in mushrooms is a precursor of vitamin D, has several anti-cancer effects, and inhibits angiogenesis. Arginine, an important amino acid, reduces tumor growth and metastasis, improves immunity, and increases weight gain and cancer survival time. Mushroom extracts are cytotoxic by both innate and adaptive immune responses.
Agaricus bisporus lectin blocks the rapid growth of breast cancer cells and inhibits the aromatase enzyme to reduce estrogen production. This reduces the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in women.
Other beneficial mushrooms include Tricholoma mongolicum, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum (G. lucidum).
CONCLUSION: Many mushrooms, especially Agaricus bisporus, are useful in treating breast cancer.
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