Chaga Mushroom Extract Slows Down Oral Cancer Growth by Blocking Energy Use

Jenn Hoskins
12th May, 2024

Chaga Mushroom Extract Slows Down Oral Cancer Growth by Blocking Energy Use

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Dankook University study, Chaga mushroom extract reduced the growth of oral cancer cells
  • The extract disrupted cancer cells' energy production, leading to their programmed cell death
  • These findings suggest Chaga mushrooms may be a potential complementary treatment for oral cancer
Chaga mushrooms, traditionally used in Eastern Europe and Asia for their medicinal properties, are gaining scientific attention for their potential in cancer therapy. Dankook University researchers have recently shed light on how Chaga mushroom extract (CME) may combat oral cancer[1]. This study is particularly significant given the limited treatment options for oral cancer, which often come with severe side effects. The study at Dankook University focused on oral cancer cells, known as HSC-4, and the impact of CME on their survival and growth. The researchers discovered that CME not only reduced the viability and proliferation of these cancer cells but also interfered with their cell cycle. This was attributed to the suppression of a protein called STAT3, which is often active in cancer cells and helps them grow uncontrollably. Moreover, the Chaga extract was found to disrupt the cancer cells' energy production. It hindered glycolysis, the process by which cells convert glucose into energy, and reduced the mitochondrial membrane potential, which is crucial for energy production. This dual attack on the cells' energy sources led to autophagy—a process where cells degrade and recycle their components—culminating in apoptotic cell death, a form of programmed cell death that is often defective in cancer cells. The study's insights into the molecular mechanisms of CME's action on oral cancer cells align with previous research on other cancer types. For instance, earlier studies on breast cancer demonstrated that CME could activate autophagy by triggering AMPK and inhibiting the mTOR signaling pathway[2]. Similarly, in lung cancer, CME's cytotoxic effects were mediated by apoptosis through caspase-3 activation[3]. These studies, along with the current findings, suggest a broad spectrum of anticancer activities exhibited by Chaga mushrooms. The anticancer potential of Chaga is further supported by its effects on Sarcoma-180, a type of cancer in mice, where compounds from CME significantly reduced tumor volume[4]. Additionally, a specific component of Chaga, ergosterol peroxide, has been shown to suppress the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells and inhibit colon cancer in mice[5]. These findings corroborate the recent study's results, indicating that Chaga mushroom could be a potent ally in the fight against various cancers. The research from Dankook University expands our understanding of how Chaga mushroom extracts may offer therapeutic benefits for oral cancer patients. By inhibiting critical pathways involved in cell cycle progression, energy metabolism, and inducing autophagy-mediated apoptosis, CME presents itself as a potential complementary medicine for oral cancer therapy. The collective body of research on Chaga mushrooms points to a promising future where traditional medicine and modern science converge, offering new avenues for cancer treatment. As research continues to unravel the molecular intricacies of Chaga's anticancer effects, it holds the potential to be integrated into cancer treatment regimens, providing patients with more effective and less toxic therapeutic options.



Main Study

1) Chaga mushroom extract suppresses oral cancer cell growth via inhibition of energy metabolism.

Published 9th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Chaga mushroom extract induces autophagy via the AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway in breast cancer cells.

3) Bioactivity-based analysis and chemical characterization of cytotoxic constituents from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) that induce apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells.

4) Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells.

5) Ergosterol peroxide from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) exhibits anti-cancer activity by down-regulation of the β-catenin pathway in colorectal cancer.

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