From bench to bedside: Evaluation of AHCC supplementation to modulate the host immunity to clear high-risk human papillomavirus infections

Judith A. Smith, Lata Mathew, Anjali Gaikwad, Barbara Rech, Maryam N. Burney, Jonathan P. Faro, Joseph A. Lucci, Yu Bai, Randall J. Olsen, Teresa T. Byrd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: There is currently no effective medicine or supplement for clearance of high risk-human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infections. We have taken a systematic approach evaluating the potential use of AHCC supplementation to support clearance of HR-HPV infections. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate AHCC supplementation to modulation of the host immune system to clear HR-HPV infections from bench to bedside. Methods: Cervical cancer cells, CaSki (HPV16+), HeLa(HPV18+), SiHa(HPV16/18+), and C-33A(HPV-), were treated in vitro with AHCC 0.42 mg/mL daily x7 days then observed x7 days with daily sample collection. A confirmatory study in cervical cancer mouse models, SiHa(HPV16/18+) and C-33A(HPV-), was conducted: mice were divided into three groups per cell line then dosed with AHCC 50 mg/kg/d (N = 10), or vehicle alone (N = 10), or no supplementation (N = 10) for a total of 90 days followed by 30 days of observation. Tumors were measured 3x/week and blood samples collected bi-weekly to evaluate interferon (IFN) alpha(α), beta(β), and gamma(γ) and immunoglobulin G(IgG) by immunoassays. Tumors were evaluated for HR-HPV expression by PCR. Two pilot studies of 10 patients each were conducted in women with confirmed persistent HR-HPV+ infections. The 1st study evaluated AHCC 3g from 5 weeks up to 6 months and 2nd study evaluated AHCC 1g < 8 months. HR-HPV DNA status and the immune panel were monitored at each visit. Results: HR-HPV clearance was observed in vitro and confirmed in the animal studies as a durable response. Four of six (66.7%) patients had confirmed HR-HPV clearance after 3-6 months of AHCC 3g. Similarly, 4 of 9 (44%) patients had confirmed HR-HPV clearance after 7 months of AHCC 1g. Suppression of IFNβ <25 pg/mL was observed in those clearing the HR-HPV infection. Conclusion: Pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated durable clearance of HR-HPV infections. The preliminary data from the two pilot studies suggested that AHCC supplementation supports the host immune system for successful clearance of HR-HPV infections. A confirmatory phase II randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 2019


  • AHCC
  • Cervical cancer
  • HPV
  • Nutritional supplementation
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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