Poria, Wolfiporia extensa (Poria cocos), is a fungus in the family Polyporaceae. It is a wood-decay fungus but has a terrestrial growth habit. It is notable in the development of a large, long-lasting underground sclerotium that resembles a small coconut. The sclerotium of Poria cocos has been used in the Chinese pharmacopoeia for thousands of years.
Wolfiporia extensa is a source of a triterpenoid compound, pachymic acid, which has been the object of scientific study based upon the mushroom’s role in traditional Chinese medicine. Pachymic acid has been shown in scientific studies to prevent chronic inflammation, by inhibiting phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-induced extravasation. Along with its proven anti-tumor properties, pachymic acid is known to inhibit the Epstein-Barr virus and to inhibit the snake venom phospholipase A2. Pachymic acid has also shown promise in treating chemotherapy-resistant pancreatic cancer, by inducing apoptosis in gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2. Pachymic acid has also shown to inhibit breast cancer cell invasion, through decreasing MMP-9 expression. Thus it may be potentially exploited for use in tumor metastasis intervention.