Coriolus versicolorTrametes versicolor
is a common tree fungus, often seen by hikers as a stiff, rounded, horizontal protuberance from tree trunks, with concentric lines of varying color. In
What is Coriolus versicolor Used for Today?
Currently, extracts of Coriolus versicolor called polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide (PSP) are under study as immune stimulants for use alongside chemotherapy
According to most but not all reported trials, most of which were performed in Asia, both PSK and PSP can enhance the effects of various forms of standard cancer treatment.
For example, in a 28-day
A typical dosage of PSK or PSP as an adjunct to standard cancer treatment is 2 to 6 grams daily. For prevention of cancer, some experts recommend 500 mg daily, but there is no real scientific basis for this recommendation.
According to Chinese studies, PSP and PSK appear to be relatively nontoxic, both in the short and long term. 9,11,12
Few side effects have been reported in clinical trials. However, safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Morimoto T, Ogawa M, Orita K, et al. Postoperative adjuvant randomised trial comparing chemo-endocrine therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy for patients with stage II breast cancer: 5-year results from the Nishinihon Cooperative Study Group of Adjuvant Chemo-endocrine Therapy for Breast Cancer (ACETBC) of Japan. Eur J Cancer . 1996;32A:235–242.
4. Nakazato H, Koike A, Saji S, et al. Efficacy of immunochemotherapy as adjuvant treatment after curative resection of gastric cancer. Study Group of Immunochemotherapy with PSK for Gastric Cancer. Lancet . 1994;343:1122–1126.
5. 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 ImmunolImmunother . 1990;31:261–268.
6. Toi M, Hattori T, Akagi M, et al. Randomized adjuvant trial to evaluate the addition of tamoxifen and PSK to chemotherapy in patients with primary breast cancer. 5-year results from the Nishi-Nippon Group of the Adjuvant Chemoendocrine Therapy for Breast Cancer Organization. Cancer . 1992;70:2475–2483.
7. Mitomi T, Tsuchiya S, Iijima N, et al. Randomized, controlled study on adjuvant immunochemotherapy with PSK in curatively resected colorectal cancer. The Cooperative Study Group of Surgical Adjuvant Immunochemotherapy for Cancer of Colon and Rectum (Kanagawa). Dis Colon Rectum . 1992;35:123–130.
10. Rotolo G. The effectiveness of Coriolus versicolor in the treatment of secondary phenomena associated with HIV. Paper presented at: the 10th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology; June 27-July 1, 1999; Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Poster 8.4.
11. Jian X, Huang L, Zhou Y, et al. Subchronic toxicity test of polysaccharopeptide of Yun Zhi (PSP). In: Yang QY (ed), International Symposium on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cancer: Development and Clinical Validation—Advances Research in PSP . Hong Kong Association for Health Care Ltd; 1999:272–284.
12. Jin TY. Toxicological research on Yun Zhi polysaccharopeptide (PSP). In: Yan QY (ed), International Symposium on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cancer: Development and Clinical Validation—Advances Research in PSP . Hong Kong Association for Health Care Ltd; 1999:76–79.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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