Sage Advice Blog

Medicinal Mushrooms Can Improve Quality of Life in Liver Cancer Patients

March 13, 2020

Marisa Soski, ND, MS


Medicinal mushrooms are a potent medicine that we recommend to many patients. These include mushrooms such as Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus), Turkey Tail (Trametes of Coriolus versicolor), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Maitake or Hen-of-the-Wood (Grifola frondosa), and more! These medicinal mushrooms have many anti-cancer actions including inhibition of many cancer promoting molecular pathways and boosting the immune system to help find and eliminate cancer cells.


A randomized placebo-controlled study published a few years ago wanted to assess the use of Turkey Tail (Trametes of Coriolus versicolor) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma that were not good candidates for conventional therapy or had exhausted their conventional options. Researchers were interested in assessing the impact of Turkey Tail mushrooms on time until disease progression while on therapy, progression free survival, overall survival, quality of life, and toxicity. Treatment was given until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurred which was 5.9 weeks for the placebo group and 12.1 weeks for the mushroom group. Unfortunately, there was no difference in time to progression between the mushroom and placebo group. There was, however, a trend towards improvement in over-all and progression-free survival in the treatment arm. The most impressing result from this study was that there was significant improvements in quality of life in the mushrooms group, with subjects reporting better physical, emotional, cognitive and social functioning.


This study helps solidify the role of medicinal mushrooms, specifically Coriolus versicolor, in cancer care!



DOI: 10.1089/acm.2016.0136

DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.04.038


DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.

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