Background: Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy in the world. Beta glucan can be ahematopoietic and an immune modulator agent in cancer patients. The aim of this trial was to determine theeffect of beta glucan on white blood cell counts and serum levels of IL-4 and IL-12 in women with breast cancerundergoing chemotherapy. Materials and
Methods: This randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinicaltrial was conducted on 30 women with breast carcinoma aged 28-65 years. The eligible participants wererandomly assigned to intervention (n=15) or placebo (n=15) groups using a block randomization procedurewith matching based on age, course of chemotherapy and menopause status. Patients in the intervention groupreceived two 10-mg capsules of soluble 1-3, 1-6, D-beta glucan daily and the control group receiving placeboduring 21 days, the interval between two courses of chemotherapy. White blood cells, neuthrophil, lymphocyteand monocyte counts as well as serum levels of IL-4 and IL-12 were measured at baseline and at the end of thestudy as primary outcomes of the study.
Results: In both groups white blood cell counts decreased after 21 daysof the intervention, however in the beta glucan group, WBC was less decreased non significantly than the placebogroup. At the end of the study, the change in the serum level of IL-4 in the beta glucan group in comparisonwith the placebo group was statistically significant (p=0.001). The serum level of IL-12 in the beta glucan groupstatistically increased (p=0.03) and comparison between two groups at the end of the study was significant afteradjusting for baseline values and covariates (p=0.007).
Conclusions: The findings suggest that beta glucan canbe useful as a complementary or adjuvant therapy and immunomodulary agent in