A mesothelioma patient takes a medicinal mushroom, Agaricus blazei Murill, and has a clinical tumor disappearance during a 29-month follow-up period.
In 2003, a 75-year old man with a history of asbestos exposure was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Biopsy revealed that the mesothelioma was of the epithelioid type. The man was scheduled to undergo an EPP (extra-pleural pneumonectomy) on September 30, 2003. However, because of the aggressiveness of the tumor the EPP was not performed. Instead a cytoreduction pleurectomy was completed. Postoperative intrathoracic chemotherapy (carboplatin) was administered followed by systemic chemotherapy (gemcitabine). A CT scan in December 2003 demonstrated that the patient had stable disease.
In May 2004, the man had chest pain and was feeling poorly. Another CT showed that the mesothelioma had recurred in the right pleural cavity. The patient refused further treatment. Instead he took a mushroom called Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa. This is a type of Agaricus blazei Murill (ABM) mushroom.
The mesothelioma patient also used alternative parasympathetic nerve stimulation therapy (PNST). PNST is modified acupuncture modality. The parasympathetic nervous system promotes digestion, the synthesis of glycogen, and allows for normal function and behavior.
After starting this alternative regimen, the mesothelioma patient had high fever for about two weeks. After the fever passed his general condition improved greatly. Four months after he started these therapies the mesothelioma tumor had significantly decreased. A subsequent CT demonstrated that the tumor had completely disappeared.
In August 2007, the mesothelioma started to regrow. The patient continued his alternative therapies and in November 2008 the tumor was growing slowly. The doctors concluded that “some immunological reactions” of the patient to the tumor are responsible for the successful clinical outcome in this case and they discussed the fact that the ABM may have possibly played a role although the tumor disappearance could not be “categorically explained.”
ABM is an edible mushroom that grows naturally in North America, Israel, Taiwan, and Brazil. It has been used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, and arteriosclerosis. In the mid-1960’s ABM spores were taken to Japan for research and commercial cultivation. The research has revealed that ABM is an immunomodulating agent and it contains a number of biological response modulators such as proteoglucans and beta-glucans. These substances induce the secretion of nitric oxide and proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-8. Research has suggested that these substances may be of benefit to cancer patients. Studies in cell cultures and animals have revealed that ABM has anti-cancer effects in at least eight different cancers. In one very interesting study, mice fed ABM and marine phospholipids had their myeloma tumors vanish. (Marine phospholipids are compounds that contain omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients.) And there are anecdotal reports of some patients with hematological cancer who have been cured when supplementing their prescribed hospital treatment with ABM. However, all of these results need to be validated in a controlled clinical setting.
Today, research into ABM and cancer continues in China, Brazil and some European countries.
Higashiyama, et al., Malignant pleural mesothelioma with long-term tumor disappearance of a local relapse after surgery: a case report; Journal of Medical Case Reports 2009 3:6800.
Hetland, et al., Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer; Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 68, 363-370.