White Button Mushrooms May help in Early Stages of Prostate Cancer–a less toxic approach

This NCI-sponsored clinical trial is an example of rigorous, scientific research aimed to assess the potential role of mushroom-derived supplements in prostate cancer therapy.1

Dr. Przemyslaw Twardowski, Professor of Medical Oncology and Urologic Oncology at Saint John’s Cancer Institute, is a principal investigator for this groundbreaking clinical trial, which assesses the benefits of nutritional supplements in patients with early stages of prostate cancer.

Dr. Przemyslaw Twardowski, Director of Clinical Research, Urology and Urologic Oncology, and Professor of Medical Oncology and Urologic Oncology, discuss a novel clinical trial at Saint John’s Cancer Institute

Why White Button Mushrooms?

Dr. Twardowski and his collaborators previously evaluated tablets derived from white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) in patients who had evidence of relapse of prostate cancer after prior therapy with surgery, with and without radiation. Treatment with white button mushrooms resulted in a decrease in their prostate cancer blood tests or rather, saw lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), in about 1/3 of patients while some of them experienced durable remissions. High PSA levels often point to the presence of prostate cancers or developing cancer. By targeting people who already have cancer, it should be easier to identify the benefit of white button mushrooms.

Even though the exact biological effects of white button mushrooms are not fully known, analysis of blood samples of patients who responded to white button mushroom therapy suggested that anti-cancer activity might have been mediated by favorable impact on the immune function. More so, various natural products have been linked to possible anti-cancerous effects, however there is still no scientific evidence to purport those claims.

Who Will Be in the Study?

The clinical trial will evaluate the effects of mushroom tablets on 2 different groups of prostate cancer patients.

  1. Patients with recently diagnosed, low-risk prostate cancer that does not require immediate therapy with surgery or radiation
  2. Patients who had prior therapy for prostate cancer with surgery and/or radiation and now have evidence of cancer recurrence based on rising PSA blood test, but have no visible metastases on imaging scans.

Additional Study Parameters

The clinical trial will also collect blood and tissues samples to evaluate the effect of mushroom tablets on variety of parameters including immune function and changes in cancer regulatory mechanisms.

Goal of the Study

The goal of the study is to evaluate the prospective role of white button mushroom-derived supplements in prostate cancer therapies. With a total of 132 patients enrolled, participants in the study will continue for 1 year and will be closely monitored for responses to treatment. The study is expected to conclude after 3 years of research and analysis.

Study Identifiers

Sponsors: City of Hope Medical Center; National Cancer Institute (NCI)
NCT ID: 04519879
Protocol #: White Button Mushroom
Phase 2

If you think you qualify for this study and want to participate please go to the Clinical Trials page.

About the Authors

Eleanor Zeri

Przemyslaw W. Twardowski,