Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have greatly advanced the field of anti-cancer immunotherapy and have made a major impact
in clinical medicine. While more mAbs have been approved by the FDA and entered into the clinical therapeutic arena with indications to
treat various solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, extensive efforts have also been made to make mAb therapy more effective.
Combination therapy of anti-tumor mAbs with chemotherapeutic drugs has been widely used in the clinical patient care. In addition,
many immune stimulating agents have been specifically studied for this very purpose. One compound in particular, β-glucan, has shown
very promising and exciting results in pre-clinical animal models and early phase human clinical trials. β-Glucans are naturally occurring,
abundant polysaccharides with different structures that can be extracted and purified from fungi, bacteria, oats and barley. The active
components of yeast-derived β-glucan exert their unique immune stimulating functions by binding specifically to complement receptor 3
(CR3) via lectin-like domain (LLD) and activating CR3 to promote cellular cytotoxicity of iC3b-coated cancer cells. In addition, particulate
yeast-derived β-glucan stimulates both innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses. This review covers the anti-cancer mechanisms
of anti-tumor mAbs and β-glucans, the pre-clinical studies done with β-glucans in conjunction with anti-tumor mAbs in human
carcinoma xenograft models, and the preliminary results of human clinical trials with different β-glucans, as well as those of phase I/II
and III studies using the combination of yeast-derived soluble β-glucan and anti-tumor mAbs.
Keywords: β-Glucans, mAb, targeted therapy, complement, ADCC, CR3, leukocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, cancer immunotherapy
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