A current treatment for prostate cancer is a pharmaceutical called finasteride, which is a 5-alpha reductase* inhibitor. One clinical trial showed that finasteride reduced prostate cancer incidence in 25% of patients, but did so with significant side effects.
There is a need for better therapy for better prostate cancer. Prostate cancer stem cells (CSC) are immature cells believed to be the origin of prostate cancer. These stem cells can differentiate into well-defined cancer cells and form clusters. Usual therapy at this time is successful in destroying the more differentiated cancer cells, but is not effective against the CSCs, so the cancer may likely progress.
A component of Turkey tail mushroom (Coriolus versicolor), called PSP, is said to work combat CSCs. Researchers found that PSP was able to lower the markers of CSCs in a prostate cancer cell line called PC-3. PSP was able to suppress the formation of prostaspheres** by PC-3 cells in culture by targeting the CSCs.
PSP inhibited the ability of PC-3 cells to form tumors in vivo. Mice, which develop prostate tumors spontaneously, were fed for 20 weeks with PSP. All control animals which were fed with water only for 20 weeks, without PSP, developed prostate tumors at the end of the study. None of the mice fed PSP and water developed prostate tumors. PSP treatment “drastically” suppresses the prostasphere formation of PC-3 cells. This would indicate that oral PSP can inhibit the formation of prostate cancer, and long term treatment with PSP appears to have no side effects on mice.
PC-3 cells were treated with PCP before being injected into mice. Three out of eight of the mice, which were given PC-3 pre-treated with PSP, failed to develop tumors. PSP has the ability to reduce the likelihood of PC-3 cells to cause cancer.
CONCLUSION: PSP from Turkey tail mushroom is shown in this study to suppress CSCs and reduce their ability to form prostaspheres, which lead to prostate cancer. “…oral PSP may be a safe and effective chemopreventive agent against prostate cancer.” (This may be true of breast cancer, also.)
NOTE: *Kudzu is an herbal 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.
**Prostaspheres are small spheroids formed by prostate cancer stem cells, believed to be a step in the development of prostate cancer.
Read about PSP and chemoprevention of prostate stem cells.
To see the author’s abstract of the article, click on the title of the article. Then, to read the full article, click on the free full text icon.