An Evidence-based Perspective of Lentinus Edodes (Shiitake Mushroom) for Cancer Patients

  • Jiao Shen
  • Jia-fei Yao
  • Mamoru Tanida
  • Yuko Horii
  • Katsuya Nagai
Part of the Evidence-based Anticancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine book series (ACAM)


Lentinus edodes, known as shiitake mushroom in Japan and Xiang Gu or fragrant mushroom in China, is an edible mushroom that is commonly cultivated worldwide. This mushroom has been consumed for centuries as a delicacy and for its beneficial effects on human health. Early in the fourteenth century, the Chinese physician Wu Rui recorded that shiitake was beneficial for the treatment of various forms of malignancy. Since 1969, groundbreaking investigations have performed in this subject, and a large number of high quality scientific studies have demonstrated the immunomodulatory, antitumor, antiviral, and cholesterol-regulating effects of this mushroom. In addition, the use of shiitake in combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy has reported in Japan. Since cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and it is exceptionally difficult to cure malignant tumors, cancer prevention may be a more effective strategy to control and ultimately overcome cancer. Here, we will summarize the antitumor activity and immunomodulating action of biologically active polysaccharides, mostly β-glucans, from shiitake mushroom fruit bodies and/or cultured mycelium based on experimental and clinical findings. The following aspects of shiitake mushroom in relation to cancer would be discussed: mechanisms of action, optimal dosage, and timing of administration for clinical use of its antitumor and immunostimulating properties, prospective use in clinical therapy, clinical safety, and possible adverse effects.


Fruiting Body Migration Inhibitory Factor Advanced Gastric Cancer Mushroom Extract Triple Helical Structure 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiao Shen
    • 1
  • Jia-fei Yao
    • 2
  • Mamoru Tanida
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yuko Horii
    • 3
    • 4
  • Katsuya Nagai
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.ANBAS CorporationToyosakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of GynecologyThe First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute for Protein ResearchOsaka UniversitySuitaJapan
  4. 4.ANBAS CorporationToyosakiJapan

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