Effect of Beta glucan on quality of life in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial

Adv Pharm Bull. 2014 Oct;4(Suppl 1):471-7. doi: 10.5681/apb.2014.070. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


Purpose: Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy in the world. Beta glucan may improve quality of life in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The aim of this trial was to determine the effect of Beta glucan on quality of life in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods: This study was conducted on 30 women with breast carcinoma. The eligible participants were randomly assigned to intervention (n=15) or placebo (n=15) groups using a block randomization procedure. Patients in the intervention group received two 10-mg capsules of soluble 1-3, 1-6, D-beta glucan daily and the placebo group received placebo for 21 days, in an interval between two courses of chemotherapy. Health - related quality of life (HRQL) was evaluated using the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire version.3.0 (EORTC QLQ-C30) at the beginning and end of the study.

Results: At the end of the study, the Global health status /QoL score for the Beta glucan group was significantly increased (P=0.023), but the difference between the two groups was not significant. After intervention, the Functional scales score showed no significant change (P=0.099) between the two groups or within the groups. At the end of the study, the Symptom scales\items score was decreased significantly in Beta glucan group comparing the placebo group (P=0.048), as well as after adjusting for baseline score. The Symptom scales\items score's change was significant (P=0.012) within the Beta glucan group, compared with the baseline score.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that Beta glucan may be useful as a complementary or adjuvant therapy for improving quality of life in breast cancer patients in combination with cancer therapies.

Keywords: Beta glucan; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Quality of Life.