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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
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ISSN Imprimer: 1521-9437
ISSN En ligne: 1940-4344

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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v7.i3.840
pages 445-446

Medicinal Mushrooms: A New Source for Breast Cancer Therapeutics

Roumyana D. Petrova
Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa; Migal-Galilee Technology Center, South Industrial Zone, Kiryat Shmona, Israel;Bulgarian Mycological Society, 23 Acad. G. Bonchev St., Sofia 1113, Bulgaria
Jamal A. Mahajna
Migal, Galilee Technology Center, Cancer Drug Discovery Program, Kiryat Shmona; Galilee Institute for Applied Research, Nazareth
Cvetomir M. Denchev
Institute of Botany, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria


It is known that advanced breast cancers do not respond well to chemotherapy, and their gene expression arouses uncontrolled growth. Although ER-positive breast cancers respond to hormonal therapy, the treatment of ER-negative cancers is more complicated. Despite the positive results of most of the chemotherapeutic regimes, cellular adaptations have enabled tumor cells to evade many of the chemotherapeutic drugs. One of these cellular chemoresistance factors is the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). NF-κB can be such a target in breast cancer treatment, and its removal by an inhibitor can reverse the specific antiapoptosis of cancer cells. Therefore, NF-κB was selected as the main target in the present study.
Recently, the application of low-molecularweight compounds with fungal origin as natural therapeutics in cancer treatment has been gaining more attention. There are studies demonstrating that these biologically active fungal substances could be used as a novel pharmaceutical source in breast cancer therapy (Petrova et al., 2005). For instance, the caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which specifically inhibits DNA binding of NF--κB and showed some promising results in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells, is found to be produced by Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) Imbach, Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Singer, and Phellinus linteus (Berk. Et M.A. Curtis) Teng (Mattila et al., 2001; Nakamura et al., 2003). Low-molecular-weight compounds isolated from fruit bodies and spore extracts of Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.: Fr.) P. Karst. Also exhibited breast cancer and, more specifically, NF--κB inhibitory activity (Sliva et al., 2002; Sliva, 2003; Jiang et al., 2004).
Following these perspectives, we started a screening program of 75 strains of 67 species, kept in the Culture Collection of the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa (HAI), belonging to different taxonomical and ecological groups. Mycelia were grown in submerged conditions for biomass production. Three organic solvents with different polarities (ethyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, and diethyl ether) were used for dry biomass extraction in order to isolate fungal secondary metabolites. Moreover, the culture broth, left after the mycelia filtration, was also extracted with ethyl acetate in order to receive bioactive compounds produced in the media during fungal growth.

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