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Nutr Res Pract. 2015 Apr;9(2):129-36. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2015.9.2.129. Epub 2014 Dec 26.

Active hexose correlated compound potentiates the antitumor effects of low-dose 5-fluorouracil through modulation of immune function in hepatoma 22 tumor-bearing mice.

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Fujian Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Huatuo Road, No1, Fuzhou, 350108, China.
The Second People's Hospital of Fujian Province, China.
Inspection and Quarantine Technique Centre of Fujian Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, China.



A variety of immunomodulators can improve the efficacy of low-dose chemotherapeutics. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), a mushroom mycelia extract, has been shown to be a strong immunomodulator. Whether AHCC could enhance the antitumor effect of low-dose 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) via regulation of host immunity is unknown.


In the current study Hepatoma 22 (H22) tumor-bearing mice were treated with PBS, 5-FU (10 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1), i.p), or AHCC (360 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1), i.g) plus 5-FU, respectively, for 5 d. CD3(+), CD4(+), CD8(+), and NK in peripheral blood were detected by flow cytometry. ALT, AST, BUN, and Cr levels were measured by biochemical assay. IL-2 and TNFα in serum were measured using the RIA kit and apoptosis of tumor was detected by TUNEL staining. Bax, Bcl-2, and TS protein levels were measured by immunohistochemical staining and mRNA level was evaluated by RT-PCR.


Diet consumption and body weight showed that AHCC had no apparent toxicity. AHCC could reverse liver injury and myelosuppression induced by 5-FU (P < 0.05). Compared to mice treated with 5-FU, mice treated with AHCC plus 5-FU had higher thymus index, percentages of CD3(+), CD4(+), and NK cells (P < 0.01), and ratio of CD4(+)/CD8(+) (P < 0.01) in peripheral blood. Radioimmunoassay showed that mice treated with AHCC plus 5-FU had the highest serum levels of IL-2 and TNFα compared with the vehicle group and 5-FU group. More importantly, the combination of AHCC and 5-FU produced a more potent antitumor effect (P < 0.05) and caused more severe apoptosis in tumor tissue (P < 0.05) compared with the 5-FU group. In addition, the combination of AHCC and 5-FU further up-regulated the expression of Bcl-2 associated X protein (Bax) (P < 0.01), while it down-regulated the expression of B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) (P < 0.01).


These results support the claim that AHCC might be beneficial for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.


5-fluorouracil; Muschroom; hepatocarcinoma; immune; toxicity

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