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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 982368, 10 pages
Original Article

Anti-Cancer Effects of Protein Extracts from Calvatia lilacina, Pleurotus ostreatus and Volvariella volvacea

1Graduate Institute of Biomedical and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, College of Life Sciences, National Chiayi University, A25-303 Room, Life Sciences Hall, 300 Syuefu Road, Chiayi 60004, Taiwan
2Graduate Institute of Food Science and Biopharmaceutics, National Chiayi University, Chiayi, Taiwan
3Department of Chemical Biology, National Pingtung University of Education, Pingtung, Taiwan
4Department of Biology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA
5Department of Applied Chemistry, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Received 16 September 2009; Accepted 20 April 2010

Copyright © 2011 Jin-Yi Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Calvatia lilacina (CL), Pleurotus ostreatus (PO) and Volvariella volvacea (VV) are widely distributed worldwide and commonly eaten as mushrooms. In this study, cell viabilities were evaluated for a human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line (SW480 cells) and a human monocytic leukemia cell line (THP-1 cells). Apoptotic mechanisms induced by the protein extracts of PO and VV were evaluated for SW480 cells. The viabilities of THP-1 and SW480 cells decreased in a concentration-dependent manner after 24 h of treatment with the protein extracts of CL, PO or VV. Apoptosis analysis revealed that the percentage of SW480 cells in the SubG1 phase (a marker of apoptosis) was increased upon PO and VV protein-extract treatments, indicating that oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation existed concomitantly with cellular death. The PO and VV protein extracts induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, glutathione (GSH) depletion and mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) loss in SW480 cells. Pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine, GSH or cyclosporine A partially prevented the apoptosis induced by PO protein extracts, but not that induced by VV extracts, in SW480 cells. The protein extracts of CL, PO and VV exhibited therapeutic efficacy against human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells and human monocytic leukemia cells. The PO protein extracts induced apoptosis in SW480 cells partially through ROS production, GSH depletion and mitochondrial dysfunction. Therefore, the protein extracts of these mushrooms could be considered an important source of new anti-cancer drugs.