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14-06-2010 | Oncology | Article

Mushroom supplement reduces prostate cancer patients anxiety, but not PSA


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MedWire News: Mushroom mycelium extract is ineffective for reducing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in early-stage prostate cancer patients, report researchers.

However, in men with strong anxiety prior to taking the supplement, “these feelings were significantly alleviated” after a 6-month treatment period, say Yoshiteru Sumiyoshi, from Shikoku Cancer Center in Ehime, Japan, and colleagues.

Reporting in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, the team investigated whether a 4.5 g/day dose of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) – extracted from mycelia of the shitake mushroom – would decrease the PSA levels of early-stage prostate cancer patients by 50% or more after 6 months.

Previous research indicates that complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are increasingly popular among cancer patients, particularly dietary supplements among Japanese patients. In addition, studies have linked AHCC to potential anti-cancer activity and cancer-preventive actions.

The current study involved 74 prostate cancer patients with a mean age of 73.5 years, all of whom were treated with expectant management. In addition to monitoring changes in PSA level, the researchers evaluated changes in the men’s state and trait anxiety using a questionnaire inventory at each 2-month follow-up appointment.

Only one (1.4%) patient experienced a PSA decrease of 50% or more, at 54%. The PSA changes in the remaining patients were stable at 6 months (mean 0.03 ng/ml elevation per test point), even in patients who opted to extend their AHCC administration period to 12 months (n=39, mean 0.1 ng/ml elevation).

The researchers did observe an effect on patient anxiety after AHCC supplementation, however.

The 19 men with “strong” state anxiety levels before taking the supplement saw a significant reduction in their state-trait anxiety inventory scores after 6 months of taking AHCC, from 51 to 44. Similarly, the 15 men with strong pre-supplementation “trait” anxiety levels saw a significant reduction in their inventory scores after 6 months, from 53 to 46.

“It is not clear whether this is an effect of AHCC treatment or if similar results would be obtained with other CAMs,” write Sumiyoshi et al, who suggest a placebo-controlled trial would elucidate their results.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy

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