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Trametes versicolor – also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor – is a common polyporemushroom found throughout the world. Meaning 'of several colours', versicolor reliably describes this mushroom found in different colors. By example, due to its resembling multiple colors in the tail of wild turkey, T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail.
The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colours. Flesh 1–3 mm thick, leathery texture. Cap with rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes blackish zones, Older specimens, such as the one pictured at right, can have zones with green algae growing on them, thus appearing green. Commonly grows in tiled layers. Cap flat, up to 8 x 5 x 0.5-1 centimeters, often triangular or round, with zones of fine hairs. Pore surface whitish to light brown, pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 2-5 pores per millimeter
According to the American Cancer Society: "Available scientific evidence does not support claims that the raw mushroom itself is an effective anti-cancer agent in humans. But there is some scientific evidence that substances derived from parts of the mushroom may be useful against cancer."
PSK displays anticancer activity in preliminary laboratory assessments in vitro,in vivo and in preliminary human research. Other basic research showed that PSK might reduce mutagen-induced, radiation-induced, and spontaneously induced development of experimental cancer cell preparations. PSK has shown to be beneficial as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers. Human pilot studies indicate PSK might reduce cancer recurrence when used as an adjuvant and other basic research has demonstrated the mushroom can inhibit certain human cancer cell lines in vitro. Further in vitro studies have shown that a nutraceutical blend (MC-S) of PSK, lentinan and other fungal extracts might also inhibit cancer cell proliferation under laboratory conditions.
The MD Anderson has reported that it is a "promising candidate for chemoprevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods of time." At present, however, there are no approved drugs, mechanisms of action or scientifically verified anti-disease activities resulting from this mushroom.
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