Fungal extracts are extensively used as nutritional supplements in Far-Eastern Asia. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the anti-cancer activities of some different fungal species against different cancer cell lines. The water or ethanol extracts of Fomitopsis pinicola (F. pinicola), Ganoderma sinense, Fomitopsis officinalis, Polyporus melanopus, and Taiwanofungus camphorates were used to evaluate the anti-cancer activities in various cancer cells. We found that all of the fungi ethanol extracts used in this study exert anti-cancer activities in vitro, whereas water extracts show lower inhibitory activities as determined by 3-(4,5-methylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assays. Among the tested fungi species, F. pinicola ethanol extract exerts the most significant anti-cancer activity (growth inhibitory ratio 82.8%, p < 0.001) by increasing cell apoptosis. Moreover, F. pinicola ethanol extract significantly decreased tumor size (tumor growth inhibitory ratio 54%, p < 0.05) and increased the lifespan in mice bearing sarcoma-180 tumors. Taken together, this is the first study indicating the anti-tumor effect of F. pinicola in vivo and in vitro. F. pinicola ethanol extract induces cell apoptosis to exert a significant anti-tumor activity, with potential to be a new alternative anti-tumor medicine.
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