Recent findings on the role of fungal products in the treatment of cancer


In modern medicine, natural products have aided humans against their battles with cancer. Among these products, microorganisms, medicinal herbs and marine organisms are considered to be of great benefit. In recent decades, more than 30 fungal immunity proteins have been identified and proved to be extractable from a wide range of fungi, including mushrooms. Although chemotherapy is used to overcome cancer cells, the side effects of this method are of great concern in clinical practice. Fungal products and their derivatives constitute more than 50% of the clinical drugs currently being used globally. Approximately 60% of the clinically approved drugs for cancer treatment have natural roots. Anti-tumor immunotherapy is prospective with a rapidly growing market worldwide due to its high efficiency, immunity, and profit. Polysaccharide extracts from natural sources are being used in clinical and therapeutic trials on cancer patients. This review aims to present the latest findings in cancer treatment through isolated and extraction of fungal derivatives and other natural biomaterials.

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Sincere gratitude of all professors and students of parasitology and mycology at the School of Public Health at Tehran University of Medical Sciences.


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OR, SSH, and KA conceived the research; MY, VR, HE, SK, BA, and AS were responsible for literature search, abstract and title screening, full-text review, and extraction of data. OR provided coordination and oversight; ASM, MM, and MM drafted the manuscript. OR, RA, and MG critically revised the manuscript.

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Correspondence to O. Raiesi.

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Shamsaei, S., Getso, M., Ahmadikia, K. et al. Recent findings on the role of fungal products in the treatment of cancer. Clin Transl Oncol (2020).

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  • Anti-tumor
  • Cancer
  • Fungi
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mushroom
  • Polysaccharides