In this paper, the structure difference between the polysaccharides isolated from fruit bodies (FGAP) and submerged fermentation system (SGAP) of Ganoderma applanatum was investigated by means of GPC, HPLC and IR, respectively. And their antitumor activities were evaluated against Sarcoma 180 in vivo. The results showed that FGAP and SGAP were typical polysaccharides with different molecular weights, monosaccharide components, and functional groups. Closely related to the distinct structures, FGAP exhibited a better antitumor activity than SGAP. Moreover, since FGAP contained carboxylate groups rather than SGAP, such groups were chemically introduced into SGAP (CSGAP) by carboxymethylation in order to identify their contribution to antitumor activity. The results demonstrated that the inhibition of CSGAP against Sarcoma 180 in vivo was significantly enhanced by comparison to the native SGAP and even higher than that of FGAP, suggesting that the carboxylate groups played a major role in antitumor activity of G. applanatum polysaccharide.