Introduction: Adoptive T-cell treatments of solid cancers have evolved into a robust therapy with objective response rates surpassing those of standardized treatments. Unfortunately, only a limited fraction of patients shows durable responses, which is considered to be due to a T cell-suppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Here we argue that naturally occurring β-glucans can enable reversion of such T cell suppression by engaging innate immune cells and enhancing numbers and function of lymphocyte effectors. Areas covered: This review summarizes timely reports with respect to absorption, trafficking and immune stimulatory effects of β-glucans, particularly in relation to innate immune cells. Furthermore, we list effects toward well-being and immune functions in healthy subjects as well as cancer patients treated with orally administered β-glucans, extended with effects of β-glucan treatments in mouse cancer models. Expert opinion: Beta-glucans, when present in food and following uptake in the proximal gut, stimulate immune cells present in gut-associated lymphoid tissue and initiate highly conserved pro-inflammatory pathways. When tested in mouse cancer models, β-glucans result in better control of tumor growth and shift the TME toward a T cell-sensitive environment. Along these lines, we advocate that intake of β-glucans provides an accessible and immune-potentiating adjuvant when combined with adoptive T-cell treatments of cancer.

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Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Department of Medical Oncology

de Graaff, P. (Priscilla), Govers, C. (Coen), Wichers, H. J., & Debets, R. (2018). Consumption of β-glucans to spice up T cell treatment of tumors: a review. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy (Vol. 18, pp. 1023–1040). doi:10.1080/14712598.2018.1523392