Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More


Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More

Common Names

  • Modified rice bran
  • Arabinoxylan rice bran

For Patients & Caregivers

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.

What is it?

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 overall immune stimulation. Lab studies suggest that MGN-3 can cause cell death in some cancer cells and increase their susceptibility to chemotherapy drugs.

Only a few short-term studies have been conducted in humans. Preliminary data suggest it may improve response and reduce side effects of standard therapies in liver cancer patients, but larger studies are needed to confirm these observations.

What are the potential uses and benefits?
  • To treat cancer

    A small study suggests MGN-3 may improve response to standard therapies in liver cancer patients. However, there is no evidence that it can be used as a treatment alone, and larger studies are needed.
  • To prevent and treat chemotherapy side effects

    MGN-3 reduced the side effects of standard therapies in liver cancer patients, but additional studies confirming such effects are needed.
  • To stimulate the immune system

    MGN-3 stimulated immune cells in lab studies and small studies of cancer patients, but additional studies are needed.
  • To treat chronic fatigue syndrome

    A clinical study did not find MGN-3 effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
What are the side effects?
  • No side effects have been reported.

For Healthcare Professionals

Brand Name
Biobran®, Lentin Plus 1000
Clinical Summary

MGN-3 is a proprietary product derived from rice bran treated with extracts from three mushrooms: shiitake (Lentinus edodes), kawaratake (Coriolus versicolor), and suehirotake (Schizophyllum commune). Promoters of MGN-3 claim that it improves immune functioning against cancer and AIDS.

In vitro and animal studies suggest MGN-3 might be useful in mounting immune responses against infections and cancer (15), facilitate apoptosis of human T-cell leukemia cells (6), and protect against weight loss induced by cisplatin (8) and radiation (11). Other preclinical models suggest it may act as a chemosensitizer (7) (10) (16) (17) and radiosensitizer (18), and exert cytotoxic (19) and chemopreventive (20) effects.

A few small short-term studies of MGN-3 have been conducted in humans. Some suggest improvements in irritable bowel symptoms (21), health-related quality of life in older adults (22) and reduced viral load in patients with chronic hepatitis C (23). 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). Other preliminary studies suggest possible benefit with rice bran arabinoxylan in combination with curcumin for patients with early-stage blood cancers (24).

Food Sources

Rice, mushrooms

Purported Uses and Benefits
  • Cancer 
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Immunostimulation
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 TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma secretion, and augment NK cell function in vitro (3).

In rat models, MGN-3 exerted protective effects against liver injury by reducing expression of IL-18 (13). It also protected against hepatitis by suppressing inhibition of NF-κB, JNK phosphorylation, and CD14 expression (14).

MGN-3 displayed synergistic effects with paclitaxel by causing DNA damage, enhancing apoptosis, and 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).

In a study of myeloma patients, MGN-3 increased NK cell activity, the number of myeloid dendritic cells in peripheral blood, and concentrations of T helper cell type 1-related cytokines (12).

Adverse Reactions

None reported.

Herb-Drug Interactions

None reported.

Herb Lab Interactions

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

Dosage (OneMSK Only)
  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.
  15. Ghoneum M, Agrawal S. Mgn-3/biobran enhances generation of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells via upregulation of dec-205 expression on dendritic cells. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Oct-Dec 2014;27(4):523-530.
  16. Ghoneum M, Badr El-Din NK, Ali DA, et al. Modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, MGN-3/biobran, sensitizes metastatic breast cancer cells to paclitaxel in vitro. Anticancer Res. Jan 2014;34(1):81-87.
  17. Badr El-Din NK, Ali DA, Alaa El-Dein M, et al. Enhancing the Apoptotic Effect of a Low Dose of Paclitaxel on Tumor Cells in Mice by Arabinoxylan Rice Bran (MGN-3/Biobran). Nutr Cancer. Aug-Sep 2016;68(6):1010-1020.
  18. Badr El-Din NK, Areida SK, Ahmed KO, et al. Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3/Biobran) enhances radiotherapy in animals bearing Ehrlich ascites carcinomadagger. J Radiat Res. 2019 Nov 22;60(6):747-758.
  19. Perez-Martinez A, Valentin J, Fernandez L, et al. Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3/Biobran) enhances natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity against neuroblastoma in vitro and in vivo. Cytotherapy. May 2015;17(5):601-612.
  20. Badr El-Din NK, Abdel Fattah SM, Pan D, et al. Chemopreventive Activity of MGN-3/Biobran Against Chemical Induction of Glandular Stomach Carcinogenesis in Rats and Its Apoptotic Effect in Gastric Cancer Cells. Integr Cancer Ther. Dec 2016;15(4):Np26-np34.
  21. Kamiya T, Shikano M, Tanaka M, et al. Therapeutic effects of biobran, modified arabinoxylan rice bran, in improving symptoms of diarrhea predominant or mixed type irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot, randomized controlled study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:828137.
  22. Elsaid AF, Fahmi RM, Shaheen M, et al. The enhancing effects of Biobran/MGN-3, an arabinoxylan rice bran, on healthy old adults’ health-related quality of life: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Qual Life Res. 2020 Feb;29(2):357-367.
  23. Salama H, Medhat E, Shaheen M, et al. Arabinoxylan rice bran (Biobran) suppresses the viremia level in patients with chronic HCV infection: A randomized trial. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Dec 2016;29(4):647-653.
  24. Golombick T, Diamond TH, Manoharan A, et al. Addition of Rice Bran Arabinoxylan to Curcumin Therapy May Be of Benefit to Patients With Early-Stage B-Cell Lymphoid Malignancies (Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance, Smoldering Multiple Myeloma, or Stage 0/1 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia): A Preliminary Clinical Study. Integr Cancer Ther. Jun 2016;15(2):183-189.
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