Rituximab therapy of lymphoma is enhanced by orally administered (1 → 3),(1 → 4)-D-β-glucan
By activating complement, antitumor monoclonal antibodies coat tumor cells with iC3b. beta-glucans, naturally occurring glucose polymers, bind to the lectin domain of the leukocyte receptor CR3, prime it for binding to iC3b, and trigger cytotoxicity of iC3b-coated tumor cells. We studied the combination of the complement-activating antibody rituximab with barley-derived (1-->3),(1-->4)-beta-D-glucan (BG) against CD-20 positive lymphoma xenografts in SCID mice. Growth of established subcutaneous non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (Daudi and EBV-derived B-NHL) or Hodgkin's disease (Hs445 and RPMI6666) was significantly suppressed in mice treated with a combination of intravenous rituximab and oral BG, when compared to mice treated with rituximab or BG alone. Survival of mice with disseminated lymphoma was significantly increased in the combination group as compared to other treatment groups. No clinical toxicity was observed. The therapeutic efficacy and lack of toxicity of this combination supports further investigation into its clinical utility.