Anticancer properties of low molecular weight oat beta-glucan – An in vitro study

Int J Biol Macromol. 2015 Sep;80:23-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2015.05.035. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Anticancer properties of 1-3, 1-4 oat beta glucan are under intensive investigation now. Antitumor characteristic of fungi and yeast beta-glucans have been widely recognized, but those polysaccharides are mostly insoluble which creates several problems especially in topical formulation. Also high molecular weight oat beta-glucans reveal high viscosity which restricts its application. According to those problems in the current study the antitumor activities of low molecular weight beta-glucan derived from oats were investigated in cancer cells: Me45, A431 and normal HaCaT and murine macrophages P388/D1. The low molecular weight beta-glucan from oat significantly deceased cancer cells viability, while for the normal cells it was non-toxic. It was observed that with the increasing incubation time and the beta-glucan concentration the cancer cells viability significantly deceased. Furthermore for the normal cells the low molecular weight beta-glucan from oat was non-toxic. Immunocytochemical ABC analysis showed that beta-glucan induced strong expression of caspase-12 in both cancer cell lines, while in HaCaT cells ABC reaction was significantly lower and in P388/D1 cell line ABC reaction was negative. Our preliminary studies show strong anti-tumor properties of new low molecular weight beta-glucan from oat and at the same time no toxicity for normal cells.

Keywords: Melanoma; Oat beta-glucan; Skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Avena / chemistry*
  • Caspase 12 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • beta-Glucans
  • CASP12 protein, human
  • Caspase 12