Therapeutic potential of various beta-glucan sources in conjunction with anti-tumor monoclonal antibody in cancer therapy

Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Feb;8(3):218-25. doi: 10.4161/cbt.8.3.7337. Epub 2009 Feb 3.


Combined beta-glucan with anti-tumor mAb therapy has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in murine tumor models. The current study was designed to compare the therapeutic efficacy of various sources of beta-glucans. Our studies demonstrated that yeast beta-glucan, in combination with anti-tumor mAb, resulted in significantly smaller tumor burdens and achieved enhanced long-term survival compared to mAb alone or beta-glucan extracts from mushrooms. Further studies indicated that yeast beta-glucan particle was superior to mushroom extracts in inducing cytokine secretion, particularly IL-12 production in dendritic cells (DCs). In addition, results showed that cytokine production was markedly decreased in MyD88-deficient macrophages and DCs but not in complement receptor 3 (CR3)-deficient mice. Our data suggest that yeast beta-glucan demonstrates much stronger adjuvant activity compared to mushroom beta-glucan extracts in tumor therapy. This effect of yeast beta-glucan may be in part ascribed to the cytokine secretion by DCs and macrophages and bioavailability of active beta-glucan moiety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Grifola / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Reishi / chemistry
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / chemistry
  • Shiitake Mushrooms / chemistry
  • Treatment Outcome
  • beta-Glucans / administration & dosage*
  • beta-Glucans / chemistry


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • MUC-1 monoclonal antibody
  • beta-Glucans
  • Interleukin-12