Based on the analysis of 303 patents and scientific articles, this state-of-theart review presents Ganoderma lucidum, a medicinal basidiomycete mushroomwithimmunomodulatory and anti-cancer effects. Cultivation methods for the commercial production of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies and mycelia are summarized, with main active compounds of triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and proteins, often found in forms of proteoglycans or glycopeptides. Pharmacological effects with emphasis on anti-cancer and immunomodulatory functions are presented, separately for spores and dry mycelia, and for the groups of triterpenoids, polysaccharides, proteins and glycoproteins. Patents disclosing preparation methods of extracts and purified pharmaceutical isolates are reviewed, and examples of anti-cancer formulations, used as pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals, are given. The chapter suggests that according to the present understanding, the anti-cancer activity ofGanoderma lucidum may be attributed to at least five groups of mechanisms: (1) activation/modulation of the immune response of the host, (2) direct cytotoxicity to cancer cells, (3) inhibition of tumor-induced angiogenesis, (4) inhibition of cancer cells proliferation and invasive metastasis behaviour, and (5) carcinogens deactivation with protection of cells. Although the data from recent in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate promising anti-cancer effects, a need is identified for further (1) isolation and purification of compounds, with deeper understanding of their individual and synergistic pharmacological effects, (2)molecular level studies of the antitumor and immuno-supportive mechanisms, (3) well designed in vivo tests and controlled clinical studies, and (4) standardisation and quality control for Ganoderma lucidum strains, cultivation processes, extracts and commercial formulations.
Keywords: β-D Glucans, angiogenesis, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, biotechnology, cultivation methods, cytotoxicity, extraction, Ganoderma lucidum, glycopeptides, immunomodulation, immunostimulation, isolation, ling zhi, patents, pharmacological effects, polysaccharides, proteins, reishi, triterpenes.