Ethnopharmacological relevance The discovery of many tissue-specific cancer stem cells (CSCs) continues to attract scientific attention. These CSCs are considered to be associated with chemo- and radio-resistance, and consequently, failure of conventional anticancer therapies. The recent demonstration of several microRNAs as enhancers of tumorigenicity via modulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stemness, makes them putative novel therapeutic target in oncology. Antrodia cinnamomea is a Chinese traditional medicine with several biological functions including anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and cancer prevention. However, the anti-CSC capability of A. Cinnamomea is not clear yet. Aim of the study To investigate the inhibitory effect of A. cinnamomea mycelium and extract on CSCs derived from various human cancer cell lines using our in-house therapeutics and human genome-wide miRNA screening panels. Materials and methods A broad range of human cancer cell lines, including the acute monocytic leukemia (THP-1), glioblastoma multiforme (GBM 8401), lung carcinoma (A549), breast adenocarcinoma (MDA-MB-231), hepatoblastoma (HepG2), colorectal adenocarcinoma (SW620), and foreskin fibroblast (HS68), were exposed to A. cinnamomea in this study. CD133+ CSCs generated from the cell lines were characterized and isolated by flow cytometry, effect of chemo- and radiotherapy was assessed using the MTT assay, while the RT-PCR and human genome wide qRT-PCR determined the differential gene expression patterns. A comparative analysis of the anticancer effect of A. cinnamomea and Cisplatin, Taxol, or irradiation was also performed. Results Our results indicated that A. cinnamomea mycelium and its ethyl acetate extracts showed anti-proliferation effects against all types of CSCs, especially the lung, breast, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma CSCs. Furthermore, CSCs treatment with A. cinnamomea combined with irradiation or chemotherapeutics demonstrated significant anti-cancer effect. We also established an association between the CSC-inhibitory effect of A. cinnamomea and significant downregulation of several microRNAs and cancer stemness expression levels in brain and breast CSCs. More importantly, higher CD133 expression is associated with poor prognosis in glioblastoma and breast cancer patients. Conclusion Herein, we demonstrate the putative role of A. cinnamomea as an effective ethnopharmacologic therapeutic agent for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2017


  • Antrodia cinnamomea
  • Cancer stem cell
  • Chemotherapy
  • Onco-microRNA
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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