Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Lenticus edodes, Lentinan edodes, Lentinane, Lentinula edodes, Lentinus edodes, Polysaccharide dérivé de Lentinus edodes, Polysaccharide derived from Lentinus edodes, Tricholomopsis edodes.


Lentinan is a substance that comes from the shiitake mushroom.

Medical professionals use lentinan to boost the effects of regular medicines used for treating cancer and HIV infection. They give lentinan intravenously (by IV) or as a shot (by injection).

How does it work?

Lentinan might increase the effects of certain medications that fight viruses and cancer. It might also increase the activity of some of the body's defense (immune) cells.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Treatment of HIV infection, when given with the medication didanosine (ddI, Videx).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Breast cancer, when given by injection. Developing evidence suggests that lentinan may improve the way regular cancer drugs work in people with breast cancer.
  • Stomach cancer, when given by injection. Developing evidence suggests that lentinan may improve the way regular cancer drugs work in people with stomach cancer. However, lentinan seems less likely to work in stomach cancer patients who are malnourished.
  • Prostate cancer, when given by injection. Developing evidence suggests that lentinan may improve the way regular cancer drugs work in men with prostate cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lentinan for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

There isn't enough information available to know if lentinan is safe. It might cause stomach and intestinal cramps, rash, muscle pain, and tiredness; and it can slow blood clotting.


What is HIV? See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of lentinan during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • Healthcare providers give lentinan as a shot to strengthen the immune system in patients with HIV/AIDS.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Gordon M, Guralnik M, Kaneko Y, et al. A phase II controlled study of a combination of the immune modulator, lentinan, with didanosine (ddI) in HIV patients with CD4 cells of 200-500/mm3. J Med 1995;26:193-207. View abstract.

Kosaka A, Kuzuoka M, Yamafuji K, et al. [Synergistic action of lentinan (LNT) with endocrine therapy of breast cancer in rats and humans]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1987;14:516-22. View abstract.

Nishihira T, Akimoto M, Mori S. [Anti-cancer effects of BRMs associated with nutrition in cancer patients]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho,1988;15:1615-20. View abstract.

Taguchi T. Clinical efficacy of lentinan on patients with stomach cancer: end point results of a four-year follow-up survey. Cancer Detect Prev Suppl 1987;1:333-49. View abstract.

Tari K, Satake I, Nakagomi K, et al. [Effect of lentinan for advanced prostate carcinoma]. Hinyokika Kiyo 1994;40:119-23. View abstract.

Wada T, Nishide T, Hatayama K, et al. [A comparative clinical trial with tegafur plus lentinan treatment at two different doses in advanced cancer]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1987;14:2509-11. View abstract.

Yoshiyuki T, Onda M, Tokunaga A, et al. [Treatment for peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer by intraperitoneal administration of CDDP through Infuse-a-Port]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1994;21:2323-5. View abstract.

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