Evidence-Based Review of BioBran/MGN-3 Arabinoxylan Compound as a Complementary Therapy for Conventional Cancer Treatment

Integr Cancer Ther. 2018 Jun;17(2):165-178. doi: 10.1177/1534735417735379. Epub 2017 Oct 17.


Introduction: Conventional cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, may not be sufficient to eradicate all malignant cells and prevent recurrence. Intensive treatment often leads to a depressed immune system, drug resistance, and toxicity, hampering the treatment outcomes. BioBran/MGN-3 Arabinoxylan is a standardized arabinoxylan concentrate which has been proposed as a plant-based immunomodulator that can restore the tumor-induced disturbance of the natural immune system, including natural killer cell activity to fight cancer, complementing conventional therapies.

Objectives: To comprehensively review the available evidence on the effects and efficacies of MGN-3 as a complementary therapy for conventional cancer treatment.

Methods: Systematic search of journal databases and gray literature for primary studies reporting the effects of MGN-3 on cancer and cancer treatment.

Results: Thirty full-text articles and 2 conference abstracts were included in this review. MGN-3 has been shown to possess immunomodulating anticancer effects and can work synergistically with chemotherapeutic agents, in vitro. In murine models, MGN-3 has been shown to act against carcinogenic agents, and inhibit tumor growth, either by itself or in combination with other anticancer compounds. Fourteen successful MGN-3 treated clinical cases were found. Eleven clinical studies, including 5 nonrandomized, pre-post intervention studies and 6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were located. Reported effects include enhanced immunoprofile, reduced side effects, improved treatment outcomes; one RCT established significantly increased survival rates. There are no reports on adverse events on MGN-3. Most of the clinical trials are small studies with short duration.

Conclusion: There is sufficient evidence suggesting MGN-3 to be an effective immunomodulator that can complement conventional cancer treatment. However, more well-designed RCTs on MGN-3 are needed to strengthen the evidence base.

Keywords: Arabinoxylan; BioBran; MGN-3; Ribraxx; adenocarcinoma; adjunct therapy; cancer; carcinogenesis; chemoprotective; chemotherapy; complementary medicine; immunomodulation; immunotherapy; rice bran; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Xylans / pharmacology*
  • Xylans / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Xylans
  • arabinoxylan