City of Hope is initiating a Phase 2 clinical trial to determine whether mushroom tablets can slow prostate cancer
City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases, is now recruiting patients for a Phase 2 clinical trial to determine whether pills containing white button mushroom extract will regulate the immune system and Affecting the immune system can prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels either remain stable or decrease. Elevated PSA levels in men can indicate the presence of prostate tumors.
Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., the Department of Biology of Lester M. and Irene C. Finkelstein, has been researching the possible positive effects of white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) in the City of Hope for about 20 years. His translational preclinical and clinical research has found that this “bioactive food” available in most supermarkets can prevent or slow the spread of prostate and breast cancer. The common fungus appears to block the activity of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a powerful form of the male hormone.
“White button mushrooms – like green tea, turmeric, soybeans, rosemary, and tomatoes – are considered ‘superfoods’ with beneficial effects on human health,” said Chen, co-reviewer of the clinical trial. “We’re trying to scientifically prove whether the hype is true. If a white button fungus can slow the progression of prostate cancer, we want to know what the active ingredient is and what biological mechanisms are working.”
City of Hope, Duarte, California, is leading the multi-site Phase 2 clinical trial, including patients at City of Hope community sites (South Pasadena, West Covina, Rancho Cucamonga) and the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica to be recruited. This study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, aims to recruit 132 male participants who have recurrent prostate cancer after topical therapy or who are under active surveillance and have not yet received therapy.
“This study may identify a possible alternative to local or salvage treatments for prostate cancer, or avoid or delay the need for local or salvage treatments. These standard therapies can cause significant short- and long-term side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, or weight gain, hot flashes and osteoporosis,” said Dr. Clayton Lau, Chair of Urology at Pauline & Martin Collins and Director of the City of Hope Prostate Cancer Program. Lau is the main investigator in the process.
The results of the Phase 1 study of white button mushrooms showed that the white button mushroom extract is safe and potentially effective against prostate cancer. Approximately 36% of the study participants had some decrease in PSA levels after three months of ingesting mushrooms with white buttons, and no dose-limiting toxicities were observed. There were no negative side effects. Androgen deprivation therapy, on the other hand, is an approved therapy with side effects such as fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, hot flashes, loss of libido, increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems – all of these side effects and yet androgen deprivation therapy is not curative.
Eating white button mushrooms appeared to activate the immune system and limit the growth of prostate cancer cells. Upon further research in the laboratory, City of Hope scientists found that white button mushrooms contain chemicals that can block androgen receptor activity in animal models, suggesting that this common mushroom could lower PSA levels. This research was recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
The aim of the phase 2 study is to determine whether recurrent prostate cancer patients experience a PSA reduction after three months. The experimental groups will consume 14 grams of the mushroom powder tablet per day – about 2/3 of a container of white mushrooms bought in the supermarket. Tablets are made from freeze-dried powder from white mushrooms. Those in the control group (observation only) can receive the mushroom tablet after three months.
In addition, the scientists will study the relative change in PSA levels in men under active surveillance who have not received localized prostate cancer treatment for 12 months. In addition, scientists will examine biopsy material to determine what molecular changes are related to the ingestion of white button mushrooms.
Individuals interested in participating in this clinical trial can visit CityofHope.org/research/find-a-clinical-trial.