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Significant prolongation of disease-free period gained by oral polysaccharide K (PSK) administration after curative surgical operation of colorectal cancer


To examine the clinical efficacy and the mechanism of action of polysaccharide K (PSK), a proteinbound polysaccharide extracted from a Basidiomycetes fungus, a randomized double-blind trial was performed by administering PSK to 56 patients and a placebo to another group of 55 patients after surgical operations on their colorectal cancers. The rate of patients in remission (or disease-free) was significantly higher in the PSK group than in the placebo group; the difference between both groups was statistically significant atP <0.05 by the logrank test. The survival rate of patients was also significantly (P <0.05) higher in the PSK group than in the control group. The most significant laboratory finding was that polymorphonuclear leukocytes from PSK-treated patients showed remarkable enhancement in their activities, such as random and/or chemotactic locomotion, and phagocytic activity, when compared with those in the control group. In conclusion, PSK was useful as a maintenance therapy for patients after their curative surgical operations for colorectal cancer. The beneficial effects were probably due to the activation of leukocyte functions as one of the many biological-response-modifying (activities induced by PSK).

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Correspondence to Motomichi Torisu.

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Torisu, M., Hayashi, Y., Ishimitsu, T. et al. Significant prolongation of disease-free period gained by oral polysaccharide K (PSK) administration after curative surgical operation of colorectal cancer. Cancer Immunol Immunother 31, 261–268 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01740932

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