A nine-year study on AHCC, the popular nutraceutical developed from different species of mushrooms cultivated in Japan, has found that it has a positive influence on immune function, and that it can improve the prognosis for postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
In vitro experiments have shown that AHCC - Active Hexose Correlated Compound - enhances natural killer cell activity, and may be considered a potent biological response modifier in the treatment of cancer patients.
A prospective cohort study was performed from 1 February 1992 to 31 December 2001. A total of 269 consecutive patients with histologically confirmed HCC were studied and ten different parameters related to liver function after surgery were examined.
Of the 269 patients, 113 received AHCC orally after undergoing curative surgery. Researchers at the University of Osaka, Japan, concluded that, compared with the control group, the AHCC group had a significantly longer period with no disease recurrence, a higher survival rate, and an increased overall survival rate.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Hepatology, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Liver.
AHCC is derived from a highly specialised manufacturing process developed in the mid-1980s that relies on the hybridization of several species of mushrooms cultivated in Japan. According to industry analysts in Japan, over 700 hospitals and medical clinics recommend AHCC to patients in that country as part of an immune enhancement maintenance regimen, leading to a $150 million (€152m) industry. Currently 40,000 individuals worldwide are estimated to use the nutritional supplement monthly.