We examined whether orally administered RBS (rice bran saccharide), prepared from rice bran by hot water extraction, increases immunocompetence, inhibits gastrointestinal carcinogenesis with N-ethyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (ENNG) or shows an antitumor effect. After the administration of RBS, phytohemagglutinin (PHA)- and pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-stimulated blastogenesis of lymphocytes derived from the mesenteric lymph nodes and peripheral blood was enhanced, and the helper/suppressor T-cell ratio was elevated, and migration activity of peritoneal macrophages was also increased in rats treated continuously with ENNG. ENNG-induced gastrointestinal carcinomas were observed in 43% of those administered RBS (ENNG-RBS) as compared with 88% in the control (ENNG) and 94% in the prednisolone (PRD) group (ENNG-PRD). The 12-month survival rate of rats bearing gastrointestinal cancer was 58% in the ENNG-RBS group as compared with 25% in the ENNG group and 15% in the ENNG-PRD group. RBS prevented the reduction in immunocompetence in the course of carcinogenesis, suppressed carcinogenesis, and prolonged the survival of rats with gastrointestinal cancer. Antitumor activities of RBS are thought to be a kind of host mediated action. The growth inhibition ratio of transplantable ENNG-induced cancer in Wistar rats was 42.1% in the RBS and 51.8% in the 5-FU group. Since little is known about the potent antitumor activity of alpha-glucan, it would be interesting to consider the relationship between the structure and the biological activities of polysaccharides.