5-Fluorouracil and its derivatives are widely used in the treatment of a variety of tumours. However, their use is associated with gastrointestinal toxicity, myelotoxicity and immune toxicity. In this study, we examined the protective effects of low-molecular-weight β-glucan isolated from Aureobasidium pullulans GM-NH-1A1 against toxicity of UFT (combination of tegafur (1-(2-tetrahydrofuryl)-5-fluorouracil) and uracil) in mice bearing colon 26 tumours.Methods
UFT was administered orally at 50 mg/kg once daily for 14 days alone or with orally administered low-molecular-weight β-glucan, 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg twice daily.Key findings
Tumour growth was inhibited equally in all treatment groups. Onset of diarrhoea, which started on day 9 of UFT administration, was delayed by concomitant administration of the β-glucan (50 and 100 mg/kg twice daily). Histological analysis showed that damage to small-intestine villi by UFT was inhibited by the orally administered β-glucan.Conclusions
Oral administration of low-molecular-weight β-glucan prevents gastrointestinal mucositis associated with UFT therapy without interfering with its anti-tumour activity.