Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(14):3125-3139. doi:10.7150/ijms.61525 This issue

Research Paper

Ferumoxytol-β-glucan Inhibits Melanoma Growth via Interacting with Dectin-1 to Polarize Macrophages into M1 Phenotype

Xinghan Liu1, Yujun Xu1, Yi Li1, Yuchen Pan1, Shuli Zhao2✉, Yayi Hou1,3✉

1. The State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Division of Immunology, Medical School, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.
2. General Clinical Research Center, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210006, China.
3. Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Liu X, Xu Y, Li Y, Pan Y, Zhao S, Hou Y. Ferumoxytol-β-glucan Inhibits Melanoma Growth via Interacting with Dectin-1 to Polarize Macrophages into M1 Phenotype. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(14):3125-3139. doi:10.7150/ijms.61525. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Background: Regulating the polarization of macrophages to antitumor M1 macrophages is a promising strategy for overcoming the immunosuppression of the tumor microenvironment for cancer therapy. Ferumoxytol (FMT) can not only serve as a drug deliver agent but also exerts anti-tumor activity. β-glucan has immuno-modulating properties to prevent tumor growth. Thus, a nanocomposite of FMT surface-coated with β-glucan (FMT-β-glucan) was prepared to explore its effect on tumor suppression.

Methods: Male B16F10 melanoma mouse model was established to explore the antitumor effect of FMT-β-glucan. The viability and apoptotic rates of B16F10 cells were detected by cell counting kit-8 and Annexin-V/PI experiments. The levels of M1 markers were quantified by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Phagocytic activity and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in macrophages were evaluated by the neutral red uptake assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection was applied to knock down the Dectin-1 gene in RAW 264.7 cells.

Results: FMT-β-glucan suppressed tumor growth to a greater extent and induced higher infiltration of M1 macrophages than the combination of FMT and β-glucan (FMT+β-glucan) in vivo. In vitro, supernatant from FMT-β-glucan-treated RAW 264.7 cells led to lower cell viability and induced more apoptosis of B16F10 cells than that from the FMT+β-glucan group. Moreover, FMT-β-glucan boosted the expression of M1 type markers, and increased phagocytic activity and ROS in RAW 264.7 cells. Further research indicated that FMT-β-glucan treatment promoted the level of Dectin-1 on the surface of RAW 264.7 cells and that knockdown of Dectin-1 abrogated the phosphorylation levels of several components in MAPK and NF-κB signaling.

Conclusion: The nanocomposite FMT-β-glucan suppressed melanoma growth by inducing the M1 macrophage-activated tumor microenvironment.

Keywords: FMT, β-glucan, macrophage, Dectin-1, melanoma