A world-renowned U.S. cancer research center and National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center based in the Los Angeles area has launched a Phase 2 clinical trial to investigate whether white button mushroom extract can regulate the immune system and thus affect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels to either remain stable or decline. Of course, heightened levels of PSA in men may indicate the existence of prostate tumors. Now City of Hope, known around the world as an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, is recruiting patients for this Phase 2 study in partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Impressive Results Thus Far
Just in March, City of Hope issued a press release announcing that white button mushrooms could alleviate prostate cancer. At the ENDO 2021—the Endocrine Society’s Annual meeting—Xiaoqiang Wang, MD, PhD, MB (ASCP) with the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope shared, “Androgens, a type of male sex hormone, promote the growth of prostate cancer cells by binding to and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells.” The researcher continued, “White button mushrooms appear to suppress the activity of the androgen receptor. “
A City of Hope principal investigator, Shiuan Chen, PhD, conducted a Phase 1 clinical trial of white button mushroom powder in patients with recurrent prostate cancer, which indicated that the mushrooms reduced levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood with minimal side effects. Again, higher levels of PSA could indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
In a newer study, the City of Hope team found that in prostate cancer cells, white button mushroom extract suppressed androgen receptor activity. They also discovered that in mice treated with white button mushroom extract for six days, prostate tumor growth was considerably suppressed, while levels of PSA decreased.
The Phase 2 Study
Now this randomized Phase 2 study (NCT04519879) targeting 132 patients investigates how well white button mushroom supplements work in reducing PSA levels in patients with prostate cancer that come back (recurrent) or have favorable risk and have not undergone any therapy (therapy naïve). Importantly, PSA is again a blood marker of prostate growth. The study hypothesis: that white button mushroom supplement may affect PSA level, various parameters of the immune system and levels of hormones that may affect prostate cancer growth.
The study commenced May 15, 2021 and runs through till July 19, 2021. Undoubtedly, the City of Hope team will be reaching out to prostate patients that fit the eligibility criteria via the database of patients in care at City of Hope as well as other means locally in the Los Angeles area.
According to the recent press release, the multisite study will recruit patients from patients at City of Hope community locations (South Pasadena, West Covina, Rancho Cucamonga) and at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica.
The objective of the Phase 2 trial is to assess if recurrent prostate cancer patients experience any PSA reduction at three months. The experimental groups will consume 14 grams of the mushroom-powder tablet per day — roughly 2/3 of a container of white button mushrooms purchased from the supermarket. Tablets will be prepared from freeze-dried powder of white button mushrooms. Those in the control group (observational only) will be able to receive the mushroom tablet after three months.
Investigational Point of View
Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., the Lester M. and Irene C. Finkelstein Chair in Biology, has been investigating the potential beneficial effects of white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) at City of Hope for about 20 years. His translational preclinical and clinical research has found that this “bioactive food” available in most supermarkets might prevent or slow the spread of prostate and breast cancers. The common fungus appears to block the activity of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a strong form of the male hormone.
Dr. Chen went on the record: “White button mushroom — like green tea, turmeric, soybean, rosemary and tomato — has been considered a ‘superfood’ with positive effects on human health,” said Chen, co-investigator of the clinical trial. “What we’re trying to do is scientifically prove whether the hype is true. If white button mushrooms can slow the progression of prostate cancer, we want to know what the active agent is and what biological mechanisms are at work.”
Clayton Lau, MD, serves as the study’s principal investigator and shared recently, “This trial may reveal a possible alternative to or may obviate or delay the need for local or salvage treatments for prostate cancer. These standard-of-care therapies may cause significant short-term and long-term side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, or weight gain, hot flashes and osteoporosis.”
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) became a part of City of Hope in 2016. AccessHope™, a wholly owned subsidiary, was launched in 2019, dedicated to serving employers and their health care partners by providing access to City of Hope’s exceptional cancer expertise. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked among the nation’s “Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California and in Arizona.
Clayton Lau, MD, the Pauline & Martin Collins Family Chair in Urology and director of City of Hope Prostate Cancer Program
Shiuan Chen, PhD, the Lester M. and Irene C. Finkelstein Chair in Biology
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