Health Care Professional Information

Brand Name

Biobran®, Lentin Plus 1000

Clinical Summary

MGN-3 is a proprietary product derived from rice bran. Promoters of MGN-3 claim that it improves immune function against cancer and AIDS. Polysaccharides are the primary ingredients and are thought to increase the levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interferon (IFN)-gamma secretion, and augment natural killer (NK) cell function in vitro (3).
Studies done in vitro and in animal models indicate that MGN-3 facilitates apoptosis of human T cell leukemia cells (6), sensitizes human breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents (7) (10), and affords protection against weight loss induced by cisplatin (8) and radiation (11).

In small studies of cancer patients, MGN-3 increased overall response and reduced adverse effects of standard therapies (1) and improved immunomodulatory function (5) (12).

Food Sources

Rice, mushrooms

Purported Uses
  • Cancer treatment
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Immunostimulation
Constituents
  • Rice bran, enzymatically treated with extracts from shiitake (Lentinus edodes), kawaratake (Coriolus versicolor), and suehirotake (Schizophyllum commune) mushrooms
  • Beet root fiber
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Silica
  • Magnesium stearate
Mechanism of Action

MGN-3 is an arabinoxylan from rice bran made using enzymes from mycelia of shiitake, kawaratake and suehirotake mushrooms. The bioactive constituents are thought to be polysaccharides, which modulate the levels of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma secretion, and augment natural killer (NK) cell function(3). In rat models, MGN-3 exerted protective effects against D-galactosamine induced liver injury by reducing the expression of interleukin (IL-18) (13); it also protected against hepatitis induced by D-galactosamine by suppressing the inhibition of NF-κB, JNK phosphorylation and CD14 expression (14).

MGN-3 displayed synergistic effects with paclitaxel by causing DNA damage, enhancing apoptosis, and by inhibiting cell proliferation in murine breast cancer cells (10). In another study, MGN-3 exerted antioxidative activity and protected against radiation-induced loss of body and organ weight in mice (11).
MGN-3 has also been shown to affect an increase in natural killer cell activity, in the number of myeloid dendritic cells in peripheral blood, and the concentrations of T helper cell type 1-related cytokines, in a study of myeloma patients (12).

Adverse Reactions

None reported.

Herb-Drug Interactions

None reported.

Herb Lab Interactions

MGN-3 reduces alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels in hepatocellular carcinoma patients undergoing standard therapies (1).

Literature Summary and Critique

Bang MH, Van Riep T, Thinh NT, et al. Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3) enhances the effects of interventional therapies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: a three-year randomized clinical trial. Anticancer Res. 2010 Dec;30(12):5145-51.
Sixty-eight patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (stages I and II) were randomized to receive interventional therapy (IT) or IT+MGN3 (MGN-3 at a dose of 1g packet per day, taken orally with meals for 12 months). Interventional therapy included transarterial oily chemoembolization (TOCE) or a combination of TOCE and percutaneous ethanol injection treatment (PEIT).
Patients in the IT+MGN-3 group showed lower recurrence of the disease, 31.6% compared to 46.7% for the control; higher survival after the second year, 35% versus 6.7% for the control; significant reduction in alpha-fetoprotein level (AFP) (p = 0.0001) compared to baseline, whereas the control group did not show a significant change; and a significant decrease in tumor volume compared to the control. 
Among the MGN-3+IT sub groups, patients who took MGN-3+TOCE+PEIT  demonstrated higher reductions in AFP levels and longer survival time than the MGN-3+TOCE sub-group.
MGN-3, when taken in conjuction with IT, may benefit patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. This observation needs confirmation in larger trials.

Dosage (Inside MSKCC Only)
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References
  1. Bang MH, Van Riep T, Thinh NT, et al. Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3) enhances the effects of interventional therapies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: a three-year randomized clinical trial. Anticancer Res. 2010 Dec;30(12):5145-51.
  2. Ghoneum MH, Maeda H. Immunopotentiator and method of manufacturing the same (Arabinoxylane Compound). U.S. Patent #5560914. Filed July 12, 1995.
  3. Ghoneum M, Jewett A. Production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma from human peripheral blood lymphocytes by MGN-3, a modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, and its synergy with interleukin-2 in vitro. Cancer Prev 2000;24:314.
  4. Ghoneum M. Anti-HIV activity in vitro of MGN-3, an activated arabinoxylane from rice bran. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1998;243:25.
  5. Ghoneum M. NK Immunomodulatory function in 27 cancer patients by MGN-3. Abstract, 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. April 20-24, 1996.
  6. Ghoneum M, Sastry G. Modified arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3/Biobran) sensitizes human T cell leukemia cells to death receptor (CD95)-induced apoptosis. Cancer Letters 2003;201:41-49.
  7. Gollapudi S, Ghoneum M. MGN-3/Biobran, modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, sensitizes human breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agent, daunorubicin. Cancer Detect Prev 2008;32(1):1-6.
  8. Endo Y, Kanbayashi H. Modified rice bran beneficial for weight loss of mice as a major and acute adverse effect of Cisplatin. Pharmacol Toxicol. 2003 Jun;92(6):300-3.
  9. McDermott C, Richards SC, Thomas PW, Montgomery J, Lewith G. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized controlled trial of a natural killer cell stimulant (BioBran MGN-3) in chronic fatigue syndrome. QJM. 2006 Jul;99(7):461-8.
  10. Ghoneum M, Badr El-Din NK, Ali DA, El-Dein MA. Modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, MGN-3/biobran, sensitizes metastatic breast cancer cells to paclitaxel in vitro. Anticancer Res. 2014 Jan;34(1):81-7.
  11. Ghoneum M, Badr El-Din NK, Abdel Fattah SM, Tolentino L. Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3/Biobran) provides protection against whole-body γ-irradiation in mice via restoration of hematopoietic tissues. J Radiat Res. 2013 May;54(3):419-29.
  12. Cholujova D, Jakubikova J, Czako B, et al. MGN-3 arabinoxylan rice bran modulates innate immunity in multiple myeloma patients. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2013 Mar;62(3):437-45.
  13. Zheng S, Sanada H, Dohi H, Hirai S, Egashira Y. Suppressive effect of modified arabinoxylan from rice bran (MGN-3) on D-galactosamine-induced IL-18 expression and hepatitis in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2012;76(5):942-6.
  14. Zheng S, Sugita S, Hirai S, Egashira Y. Protective effect of low molecular fraction of MGN-3, a modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, on acute liver injury by inhibition of NF-κB and JNK/MAPK expression. Int Immunopharmacol. 2012 Dec;14(4):764-9.

Consumer Information

How It Works

Bottom Line: MGN-3 has not been shown to prevent cancer, HIV or any other medical condition.

MGN-3 is a complex sugar derived from rice bran treated with extracts from three mushrooms: Shiitake, Coriolus versicolor, and Suehirotake. The manufacturer claims that it stimulates several aspects of the immune system, causing an overall immune stimulation. Laboratory studies show that MGN-3 can cause cell death in some cancer cells and increase their susceptibility to chemo drugs. It may improve the response and reduce the side effects of standard therapies in liver cancer patients, but larger studies are needed to confirm these observations.

Purported Uses
  • To treat cancer
    A clinical study shows MGN-3 may improve the response of standard therapies in liver cancer patients. However, there is no evidence that it can be used as a treatment alone.
  • To prevent and treat chemotherapy side effects
    MGN-3 reduced the side effects of standard therapies in liver cancer patients.
  • To stimulate the immune system
    MGN-3 has been shown to stimulate immune cells in laboratory studies and in small studies of cancer patients.
  • To treat chronic fatigue syndrome
    A clinical study did not find MGN-3 effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
Research Evidence

Sixty-eight patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (stages I and II) were randomized to receive interventional therapy (IT) or IT+MGN3 (MGN-3 at a dose of 1g packet per day, taken orally with meals for 12 months). Interventional therapy included transarterial oily chemoembolization (TOCE) or a combination of TOCE and percutaneous ethanol injection treatment (PEIT).
Patients in the IT+MGN-3 group showed lower recurrence of the disease; higher survival after the second year; and a significant decrease in tumor volume compared to the control. 
Among the MGN-3+IT sub groups, patients who took MGN-3+TOCE+PEIT  demonstrated higher reductions in AFP levels and longer survival time than the MGN-3+TOCE sub-group.
MGN-3, when taken along with IT, may benefit patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Side Effects
  • No side effects have been reported.
E-mail your questions and comments to aboutherbs@mskcc.org.