Author(s): Emmet McCormack, Jrn Skavland, Maja Muji, ystein Bruserud, Bjrn Tore Gjertsen
Lentinan, a β-glucan nutritional supplement isolated from the shitake mushroom (Lentula edodes), is a biological response modifier with immunostimulatory properties. Concomitantly, the role of β-glucans as chemoimmunotherapeutic in a number of solid cancers has been widely documented. We investigated the effects of nutritional grade lentinan upon BN rats and in a preclinical syngeneic model of acute myeloid leukemia. BN rats supplemented daily with lentinan exhibited weight gains, increased white blood cells, monocytes, and circulating cytotoxic T-cells; and had a reduction in anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4, IL-10, and additionally IL-6. Lentinan treatment of BN rats with BNML leukemia resulted in improved cage-side health and reduced cachexia in the terminal stage of this aggressive disease. Combination of lentinan with standards of care in acute myeloid leukemia, idarubicin, and cytarabine increased average survival compared with monotherapy and reduced cachexia. These results indicate that nutritional supplementation of cancer patients with lentinan should be further investigated.