Nutrients, Vitamins & Cancer
- Vitamin C
– High Intravenous Dose
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B17,
Amygdalin & Laetrile
- Folic Acid and
Folate Vitamin B9
- Inositol &
IP-6 (Inositol Hexaphosphate)
(I3C) & Isocyanates
Zinc, Pumpkin Seeds, Prostatol,
Prostate Care, etc.
- Iron Overload
- Soy Products,
Fermented Soy Extracts, Haelan 951, Soy Essence,
Nutra-Soy, Soy Option, EcoGen, etc.
Vegetable and Fruit Juices
- Ellagic Acid
Fibre and Sodium Butyrate
(Turmeric / Haldi)
Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Citrus Pectin (MCP)
Proprietary Product Options
Flavopereirine, Sempervirine, Serpentine, Pao Pereira, Rauwolfia,
Ginko biloba & the Work of Mirko Beljanski
C-Statin & Imm-Kine
A Ginseng Extract
& Shark Cartilage
Mineral & Chemical Options
Chloride High pH Therapy
Natural Cellular Defense
Particular Therapeutic Options
Dendritic Cell Vaccines
Fuad Lechin's Method of Neuroimmunomodulation
Aromatherapy, Polarity Therapy, Therapeutic Massage,
A herbal formula used by Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse (1887–1978)
that has developed something of a worldwide cult status. The formula
is said to have originated with a Native American herbalist in Northern
Ontario, who successfully treated an English woman for breast cancer
towards the end of the nineteenth century. A limited scientific
trial failed to find any anti-cancer benefit from its use, but the
herbal mix is relatively inexpensive and considering the positive
anecdotal evidence, it’s worth trying. Like so many cancer treatments,
mainstream and otherwise, it is possible that Essiac works with
some people, but not others, though why this should be so is uncertain.
There can be a number of reasons.
The formula consists of the entire dried and powdered
sheep sorrel plant (Rumex acetosella),
chopped and dried burdock root (Arctium
lappa), the dried and powdered bark of the slippery elm
tree (Ulmus rubra), and the
dried and powdered root of the ornamental turkey rhubarb plant (Rheum
Essiacinfo.org – A good overview with links to other Essiac sites
– UK supplier of Essiac herbs worldwide.
Trust – An Essiac information organization. A useful
“ImuPlus is a proprietary pharmaceutical grade (>99%), non-denatured
whey protein isolate formula: a functional food that provides bioactive
precursors for the intracellular production of glutathione, a critical
constituent for the immune system and a vital antioxidant and detoxifying
agent.... Thus, it is possible that the ingestion of non-denatured
whey protein isolates may oxidatively stress cancer cells, while
protecting normal cells. This may be why carcinogen-treated mice
fed non-denatured whey protein isolates had significantly smaller
tumor burdens than controls” (Swiss Bioceutical International).
Whey is the watery liquid component when milk is curdled.
Bioceutical International Ltd. – The manufacturer’s
International Ltd. – The manufacturer's product information.
Springboard – “The ImuPlus Story” – a comprehensive report on ImuPlus, sponsored
and partially written by the manufacturer, with a number of doctors’
recommendations and an evident product promotional agenda.
Avemar, sometimes referred to as MSC, is a nutritional
compound produced by the fermentation of wheat germ (Triticum
vulgaris) by bakers yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae),
in a patented process which yields a standardized quantity of the
naturally occurring flavone 2,6-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone (2,6-DMBQ).
It is used as a supportive adjunct to conventional cancer treatment.
The process was devised by the Hungarian researcher, Professor Mate
Hidvegi, during the 1990s. Avemar is manufactured in Hungary, where
it is an accepted part of cancer treatment. According to a number
of studies, Avemar enhances immune system regulation in a number
of ways, making it easier for the immune system to see cancer cells
and destroy them. Avemar also selectively inhibits glucose metabolism
in cancer cells, reducing their ability to multiply.
A number of small clinical trials conducted since 2000 have proved
encouraging. One study, published in the British Journal of Cancer
in 2003, showed a reduction from 23.1% to 7.6% of new metastases over six months among 66 colorectal cancer patients who received Avemar and 104 who did not.
Other trials have shown similar, significant results with other
forms of cancer. American BioSciences Inc., the US distributor of
Avemar, has the complete text of the various studies and reviews
on their website. The product is subject to considerable marketing
effort and sales-oriented presentation of the research data and
– The Hungarian manufacturer's website.
BioSciences Inc. – The US distributor's informative website.
Published Research – The full text of the four clinical trials, and various reviews.
of the New York Academy of Science – “Fermented Wheat Germ Extract
(Avemar) in the Treatment of Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases.” An
Therapy – A high pressure Avemar marketing site.
The primary active ingredient of BioBran MGN-3 is arabinoxylan,
a short-chain polysaccharide formed by the breakdown of rice bran
by enzymes from the shiitake mushroom. It has been shown to boost
the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer
(NK) cells and other lymphocytes (B- and T-cells), which can identify
and destroy cancer cells. However, there is little clinical research
to show that MGN-3 reduces the size of tumours. It is therefore
recommended as an adjuvant treatment for those undergoing chemo-
or radiotherapy, or in conjunction with surgery. No side effects
or incompatibility with other treatments have been reported, and
its effect does not diminish with time. It may be possible in
the UK to obtain this product from your GP.
The main researcher behind BioBran MGN-3 has been Dr. Mamdooh
Ghoneum at the Charles Drew University, Los Angeles. The product
has been produced by Diawa Pharmaceutical in Tokyo, a small company
committed to the development of natural products. The product
was first marketed in 1992, and rapidly ran into legal problems
in the USA, when the distributor Lane
Labs, made what were decreed as unsubstantiated claims of
its effectiveness against cancer, AIDS and other diseases. The
FDA subsequently banned Lane Labs from selling MGN-3.
BioBran MGN-3 was first developed in 1992 by Hiroaki Maeda, director
of research and development at Daiwa Pharmaceutical in Tokyo,
a small company directed by Yasuo Ninomiya, and committed to the
development of phytonutrient solutions to health and agricultural
problems. Maeda later worked on further development of the product
with Mamdooh Ghoneum PhD, professor of immunology at the Charles
Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. The product
is named after its three main developers (Maeda-Ghoneum-Ninomiya),
with an additional '3', since it is a third generation product.
In a comment commonly quoted by promoters and vendors, Ghoneum
has observed that MGN-3 is the most powerful immune complex
I have ever tested. Dr Julian Kenyon, on the other hand,
in small scale unpublished trials, found no difference in efficacy
between BioBran and a blended extract of the five main medicinal
mushrooms. Of course, Ghoneum's work was done on cell cultures,
and the whole body system is inherently more complex. It is also
true that pharmaceutical companies may commission many trials,
but only the positive ones get published. This is why genuinely
independent product trials are so important to any true assessment
of product efficacy.
European Information and Research Center Full product
details, including links to published research papers and articles.
Really Healthy Company The UK distributor.
Active An excellent introduction and overview from
this well-informed UK cancer charity.
Supplement Retailer A good overview, with references
to scientific studies.
Group A US supplier.
Polyerga Plus provides nutritional support for the immune system,
its key active ingredients being peptide extracts from pig spleens.
Immune system peptides, commonly referred to as cytokines, are chemical
messengers that activate, regulate and stabilize the immune system.
The product appears to activate the body's natural killer (NK) and
T-cell lymphocytes. The product consists of polypeptide tablets
and oligopeptide capsules. The polypeptides are taken three times
daily, before meals, and the oligopeptides are taken every other
day before a meal. This peptide technology was originally developed
in the 1950s by the German doctor and biochemist, Prof. Walter Kuhlmey.
Various studies suggest that the development of secondary tumours
(metastases) in some forms of cancer are inhibited when spleen peptides
are taken along with chemotherapy, and that the side effects of
chemotherapy can be reduced. No negative interactions with other
drugs or supplements have been reported. However, Polyerga Plus
should be taken at least two hours before proteolitic enzymes (e.g.
pancreatin, bromelain, papain) or any products containing them.
Pharma The German manufacturers' site, including a summary
of scientific and clinical studies on Polyerga.
Plus The marketing site of the US distributor, with a
of research studies. Pricing
and shipping information is available from an alternative sales
Appleseed Project A brief note on Polyerga Plus.
A US vendor.
Careseng A Ginseng Extract
First marketed in 2001, Careseng contains the concentrated extract
of a number of anti-cancer compounds found in ginseng, a herb with
a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Cell culture
studies on breast, liver, colon, prostate, lung, pancreatic, and
brain cancer cells have shown that the extract induces apoptosis
(cell death) in cancer cells. Two preliminary clinical studies also
show significant inhibition of cancer growth. No adverse side effects
have been reported.
The two main active anti-cancer agents in Careseng are Rh2 and a
class of plant compounds known as dammarane sapogenins, found especially
in the araliaceae (a large family of mostly tropical shrubs and
trees, of which ginseng is one). Cell culture studies of dammarane
sapogenins demonstrate that in addition to inducing apoptosis, they
can also inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce differentiation
of cancer cells into a benign form, and block the function a protein
(P-glycoprotein) found in cancer cells which is responsible for
multi-drug resistance, thus enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy
drugs. There are also other possible anti-cancer effects. Rh2 is
chemically related to dammarane sapogenins.
Sapogenins A site containing much detailed scientific
information, with references to many studies into the anti-cancer
and other properties of Rh2 and dammarane sapogenins.
Society of Clinical Oncology The anti-cancer pharmacology
of Careseng. A cell culture study showing Careseng-induced
apoptosis in a number of cancer cell lines, and calling for clinical
Medicine Institute A brief note on Careseng and a report
of some positive preliminary clinical studies.
Institute of Technology A current on-going study funded
by Careseng manufacturer's into the metabolism of Careseng in liver
Pharmaceuticals The Canadian manufacturer's site, with
Health Consultants Brief details from a US vendor.
Convergence A Canadian vendor, though practically no
product information is currently provided.
Center for Advanced Medicine A US clinic and vendor,
although very little product information is provided.
Clinics Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture
clinics using Careseng in Canada.
According to the official Carctol site, Carctol is a blend
of naturally occurring Indian herbs produced by Dr Nandlal Tiwari,
an expert in Ayurvedic medicine. Dr Tiwari, from Jaipur in the Rajasthan
state of India, has been prescribing the medicine to cancer sufferers
since he discovered the formula, after research on indigenous herbs
in the forests of Assam, over twenty years ago.
Through Dr Tiwari's own work and additional tests in the UK,
Carctol has proved effective as a life-enhancing formula for people
with all types of cancer. It is also beneficial for those wishing
to prevent cancer, for the protection of smokers, and for the treatment
of those with whooping cough, difficulty in swallowing, appetite
loss, menstrual disorders, and liver damage due to alcohol.
Carctol is not recommended as a substitute for conventional
treatment, but as an adjuvant treatment. However, it may also be
taken for the treatment of cancer, where the limits of conventional
medicine have been reached. Its use is part of a full nutritional
regime that is prescribed by Dr Tiwari and those practitioners,
with a full knowledge of the product.
Carctol contains Hemidesmus indicus (roots), Tribulus
terrestris (seeds), Piper cubeba linn (seeds), Ammani
vesicatoria (plant), Lepidium sativum linn (seeds), Blepharis
edulis (seeds), Smilax china linn (roots), and Rheumemodi
Whilst taking Carctol, it is necessary to follow a strict vegetarian
and alkalinizing diet, and to drink up to 3 to 5 litres of boiled
water per day. It is also recommended that digestive enzymes are
taken along with Carctol. Toxicology tests in the UK and India have
shown Carctol to have no toxicity, and to be free from toxic bacteria,
heavy metal or pesticide contamination.
Carctol has received widespread interest in the UK following a press
release in July 2002 by former director of the Bristol Cancer Help
Centre, Dr Rosy Daniel, whose story was published in the Daily Telegraph.
Although there do not appear to any controlled clinical trials of
Carctol, a large number of positive case studies have been documented.
In a study of 1,900 cancer patients in India, a 75%-100% benefit
was reported in 2% of patients, a 25%-75% benefit in 50% of patients,
and little or no benefit in the remaining 25%. Apart from helping
the body to an alkaline condition, there seems to be no indication
of how Carctol is working. Dr Tiwari recommends taking Carctol only
under the guidance of a qualified professional who understands its
Official Website Authorised by Dr Tiwari, with a full
list of UK practitioners.
Telegraph The original story that brought Carctol to
the attention of the UK public in July 2002.
Medical Journal A review of Dr Rosy Daniel's press release
Cancer An in-depth overview.
Creation Dr Rosy Daniel's website, with information on
Research UK A standard, conventional and cautious viewpoint.
Can Cure A vendor based in Faridabad, India.
USA The official US website, run by Shaws Health Ltd.
in the Channel Islands.
Public interest in shark cartilage as a cancer treatment
was first aroused by the publication of Sharks Don't Get Cancer,
by William Lane PhD, in 1993, and consequent coverage in the American
CBS News programme, 60 Minutes. In fact, sharks do get cancer,
but not, it is believed, as frequently as human beings. (It must
be pretty difficult to determine the incidence of cancer among sharks!).
Cartilage, unlike bone, contains no blood vessels, and shark and
bovine cartilage contain substances that prevent the formation of
blood vessels (angiogenesis). Since tumours require their own blood
supply in order to grow, it has been suggested that cartilage extracts
would help inhibit tumour growth.
Bovine cartilage, from the trachaeal rings of cattle, has been used
as a nutritional supplement since the 1950s. Its potential medicinal
properties have been more widely researched than shark cartilage,
not only as a cancer treatment, but also for the pain of arthritis,
where its anti-angiogenesis properties help reduce inflammation
and stiffness in affected joints. It has also proved of benefit
in treating psoriasis, a disease which, like cancer, results from
the over-proliferation of cells. As well as possessing anti-angiogenesis
properties, substances in cartilage are believed to engender resistance
to proteases (invasive enzymes produced by tumours). Dr Prudden,
one of the main proponents of bovine cartilage, maintains that its
primary anti-cancer effect is due to immuno-modulating polysaccharides.
Sceptics claim that molecules of the anti-angiogenic proteins in
cartilage are too large to be absorbed through the gut into the
bloodstream. They generally quote a trial (Journal of Clinical Oncology,
November 1998) of 60 advanced cancer patients, suffering from a
variety of cancer types and who had not responded to other treatments,
and who showed no evidence of tumour shrinkage or improvement in
the quality of life from taking shark cartilage. However, this study
in itself is not conclusive, for it is particularly likely that
advanced or aggressive tumours, unaffected by other treatments,
will be unaffected by cartilage as well. Moreover, since the actual
agents thought to be responsible for anti-angiogenesis have yet
to be identified, it is too soon to say for certain that they cannot
be absorbed. And if Dr Prudden is right, it is immuno-activating
polysaccharides that are responsible for the anti-tumour effect,
not anti-angiogenic proteins. Currently, two large trials of shark
cartilage, sponsored by the NCI, are under way.
In a review of the ten known human studies concerning cartilage
and cancer, the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
found that some reported no effect, while others claimed disappearance
of the tumours. Since cancers are of many different types, as indeed
are trials, this is by no means surprising.
Cartilage is generally regarded as non-toxic. It is usually taken
orally, but can also be injected (subcutaneously or intravenously)
or taken rectally (by retention enema). The reported side effects
include nausea, upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, taste
changes, fatigue, fever, dizziness, scrotal oedema, high calcium
levels, and discomfort at the site of injection. Like all anti-angiogenesis
agents, cartilage should be avoided by those requiring new blood
vessel growth, such as children, pregnant women, those with cardiovascular
problems, and post-surgery. Various proprietary cartilage formulations
are available, including Benefin, Cartilade, Cartisin, Catrix, Neovastat
(AE-941), and others.
Cancer Center, University of California A useful overview.
Anderson Cancer Center An overview, including details
of dosage and current
Cancer Institute An in-depth, cautious overview, including
details of human
Guide An excellent open-minded and in-depth overview.
Also includes a possible cartilage
treatment regimen, dated 1993, developed by Dr Simone of Lawrenceville,
Proteolytic enzymes (or proteases) are enzymes that digest
proteins. They include the chymotrypsin and trypsin (pancreatic
enzymes), bromelain (pineapple enzyme), papain (papaya enzyme),
fungal proteases, and serratia peptidase (the 'silk worm' enzyme).
The use of pancreatic proteolytic enzymes as a cancer treatment
was first proposed in 1906 by the Scottish embryologist, Dr John
Beard. From his research on the placenta, Dr Beard came to believe
that these enzymes are the body's main defence against cancer. He
believed that during the course of pregnancy, the normal growth
of the placenta is arrested by pancreatic enzymes produced by the
embryo. He thought that tumours develop in adults from left-over
placental cells when the pancreas fails to make or release sufficient
During his lifetime, his work attracted some interest in the academic
world, and several case reports of tumour regression and even remission
in terminal cancer patients treated with pancreatic enzymes were
documented. In 1911, he published a summary of his work in The
Enzyme Therapy of Cancer.
After his death in 1923, his enzyme therapy slipped into obscurity,
though it enjoyed occasional revivals in the world of alternative
medicine, in particular as a part of the nutritional anti-cancer
regimen of the Texan dentist, Dr William Donald Kelley. Diagnosed
in 1963 with the generally fatal pancreatic cancer, Kelley healed
himself with pancreatic enzymes, going on to do the same for many
others. Often vilified by the media, Dr Kelley wanted his work to
be evaluated by the academic world. Eventually, in 1981, this was
undertaken by a medical student, Nicholas Gonzalez, under the guidance
of the then president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,
Dr Robert Good. Since then, Dr Gonzalez together with his colleague,
Dr Linda Isaacs, has continued the research, developing a better
therapeutic protocol, and treating patients at their New York clinic.
Their treatment includes an individualized regimen made up of three
parts: diet, intensive supplementation with nutrients and enzymes,
and detoxification. His aim has always been to properly research
and evaluate Dr Beard's and Dr Kelley's work, so that if it should
prove to be of value it could be integrated into mainstream medical
practice. His work is taken seriously by the National Cancer Institute,
and after some positive preliminary studies is presently the subject
of large-scale clinical trials.
Dr Gonzalez points out that the enzymes used at their clinic are
prepared according to a strict specification. He adds, These
enzymes are available only to our patients, and are not available
over the internet or in health food stores. In our experience, quality,
manufacturing methods, and composition vary widely among commercially
available preparations of pancreatic enzymes. The results of our
studies cannot be used as validation for any other product, whether
obtained from a health food store, a pharmacy or an internet source.
Vegetarians and vegans may be unwilling to adopt the therapeutic
approach of Dr Gonzalez, since pancreatic enzymes are of animal
origin. Proteolytic enzymes of vegetable origin, such as papain
and bromelain, are available. But although there have been a few
promising in vitro studies, their efficacy of as a cancer remedy
Dr Gonzalez is not alone in his research into the possible uses
of pancreatic enzymes in the treatment of cancer. The antitumor
and antimetastatic effects of a mixture of purified proenzymes proenzyme
precursors, including trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen (pancreatic
proenzyme precursors) and amylase (a pancreatic enzyme, also found
in saliva), have been reported by the (now retired) Czech oncologist,
Dr Frantisek Trnka, whose work is currently a major subject of research
by Czech-American research scientist, Prof. Joseph Novak, at Bucknell
University, Lewistown, Pennsylvania, USA.
Health Magazine Enzyme Therapy: Back to the Beginnings.
An article by Drs Gonzalez and Isaacs.
Gonzalez's Nutritional Regimen An excellent site, detailing
of the treatment, research information, scientific articles,
a radio interview, how to become a patient, and so on.
R. Fonorow The Cure for Cancer: Theory, History
and Treatment. A useful overview.
and Cancer Evaluation of Pancreatic Proteolytic
Enzyme Treatment of Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas, with Nutrition
and Detoxification Support. The report of a small clinical
trial by Drs Gonzalez and Isaacs.
Cancer Institute Gemcitabine Compared with Pancreatic
Enzyme Therapy plus Specialized Diet (Gonzalez Regimen) in Treating
Patients who Have Stage II, Stage III, or Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer.
Details of an on-going trial comparing the efficacy of pancreatic
enzyme therapy with the chemotherapy agent, gemcitabine.
Murray A general overview of the health properties of
proteolytic enzymes. Dr Murray also has a more specific article
enzymes in cancer therapy.
Decisions Newsletter Note on a forthcoming trip by cancer
writer, Dr Ralph W. Moss, to meet the retired Czech oncologist,
Dr Frantisek Trnka.
University Profile of Prof. Joseph F. Novak.
Research Proenzyme therapy of cancer (2004).
Joseph F. Novak and Frantizek Trnka.
Promethazine hydrochloride, marketed as Phenergan, Promethegan,
Mepergan and Anergan, is an antihistamine pharmaceutical product
that blocks the effects of naturally occurring histamine. It belongs
to a family of substances known as phenothiazines, and is used to
treat allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching,
hives, and itchy skin rashes. It is also used as a sedative for
the control of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, to help control
postoperative pain, to alleviate nausea and vomiting (especially
post-operative), and to prevent motion sickness. How it works is
little understood, though it is known to cross the blood-brain barrier
and to depress the activity of the central nervous system.
It has a large number of possible side effects, the commonest of
which is extreme drowsiness, making it unsafe to drive a car, use
machinery, and so on. It can also cause respiratory depression,
even leading to death, especially in children aged less than two
years old. Promethazine was widely used for its anti-nausea properties
in the 1970s and 1980s, but due to its poor efficacy and unacceptable
side effects, it has been largely replaced. Promethazine has also
been shown to possess anti-cancer properties in far lower doses
(2550mg) than those prescribed for the control of mental disorders
Phenothiazines have been in use since the late 1940s, and the first
animal studies indicating their tumour inhibition properties, leading
to increased survival times were published in 1957. Since then,
a small number of positive animal studies have been conducted, but
although some positive individual human case studies and anecdotal
reports have been published, there have been no clinical trials.
Dr Robert Jones, a British doctor and modern proponent of the use
of promethazine as a cancer treatment, writes, The treatment
is the result of a long investigation standing fully in the tradition
of applied medical research. Despite the impressive weight of supportive
scientific evidence, and in spite of several requests, no cancer
charity or pharmaceutical firm has agreed to conduct any kind of
clinical trial. Patent cover for Phenergan has long run out. In
consequence, the costs of treatment are too modest to attract commercial
interest. He also points out, Commercially, the concept
of cancer treatment with phenothiazines is well-established; no
less than thirteen Japanese patents for phenothiazines as anticancer
drugs have been listed in Chemical Abstracts since 1973.
Based on the evidence of his research, Dr Jones believes that promethazine's
mode of action is disruption of cancer cell metabolism, specifically
of the mitochondria, the cell's energy production centre. This leads
to tumour necrosis, rather than apoptosis. That is, cancer cells
are simply killed, rather than undergoing a more orderly dismantling
(apoptosis), which is the way normal cells are taken out of service
at the end of their useful lifetime. In apoptosis, cell materials
are broken down and recycled. Necrosis, on the other hand, produces
toxic substances whose elimination from the system may require some
help. For this and other reasons, Dr Jones has established a treatment
regimen that includes the use of various vitamins and supplements.
Because promethazine crosses the blood brain barrier, it is a possible
treatment for brain tumours, unlike many chemotherapy agents.
Support Association of Western Australia Notes
on the Treatment of Cancer with Low-Dose Phenothiazines, with Special
Reference to Promethazine, by Dr Robert Jones. An in-depth
article, describing some individual case studies, with references
to supporting research.
to Life Self-medication: The Treatment of Cancer
with Phenergan, by Dr Robert Jones.
Hypotheses Successful Cancer Therapy with Promethazine:
The Rationale, a 1996 paper by Dr Robert Jones.
Support Association of Western Australia Support for
Dr Jones from a grateful patient.
Basic information, including side effects, when not to take
it (like during pregnancy), interactions with other drugs, and so
Cancer Society Basic information.
Anderson Cancer Center New Warnings for Phenergan
Cimetidine (brand name, Tagamet and others) is an over-the-counter
or prescription drug that has been used since the 1970s to reduce
the production of stomach acid. Stomach acid is secreted when histamine
binds to the H2 receptors found on the surface of the stomach cells
that secrete acid. Cimetidine binds to the H2 receptors, preventing
the binding of histamine, and the consequent production of acid.
While this is the mechanism for which cimetidine has generally been
prescribed, research since the late 1970s indicates that cimetidine
is also useful to prevent the recurrence and metastasis of stomach
and colorectal cancers.
Initially, it was thought that cimetidine stimulated the immune
system to attack cancer cells. Histamine, often secreted in response
to the surgical removal of a colorectal tumour, is a natural immune
system inhibitor, so to suppress the action of histamine would effectively
permit the immune system to be more active in eliminating cancer
This may be a part of the picture, but it is now believed that cimetidine
works mainly by preventing the adhesion of cancer cells to blood
vessel walls. A metastasis starts when a cancer cell circulating
in the blood attaches itself to the wall of a blood vessel. Cimetidine
inhibits the production of E-selectin (ELAM-1), a molecule in blood
vessels to which cancer cells can adhere by means of their own cell
surface binding agents (ligands), Lewis X and Lewis A. This prevents
cancer cells from adhering to blood vessel walls, and establishing
a new tumour. Instead, they are eventually eliminated. In one cimetidine
trial, the ten-year survival rate of patients who had undergone
the surgical removal of a colorectal cancer was increased from 49.8%
to 84.6% when they were treated for a year after with cimetidine
as an adjuvant to the chemotherapy agent 5-fluorouracil. Other trials
have also demonstrated significantly enhanced survival rates when
patients have received cimetidine.
Not all colorectal cancers have Lewis X and Lewis A ligands. One
study found them in only 70% of colorectal cancers. Other studies
have found them in breast and pancreatic cancers, which may mean
that the administration of cimetidine will also increase survival
rates for patients with these forms of cancer. The absence of Lewis
X and Lewis A ligands in some colon cancers seems to be part of
the reason why cimetidine is not always successful in preventing
Given the wealth of clinical evidence demonstrating the increased
survival rates when cimetidine is administered, it is surprising
that it has not become a standard part of the treatment of colorectal
cancer. Part of the reason is probably that to get approval of cimetidine
from the various drug approval bodies for an 'off-label' use would
be too costly. However, 'off-label' prescription for approved drugs
is legal, ethical and not uncommon.
Extension Magazine An excellent overview of research
(2002) concerning cimetidine and cancer. This site also has a shorter
Liberty A 2004 review of studies concerning cimetidine
and cancer, by Dr James Howenstine.
Opinions A cancer patient and layman's overview.
Does Cimetidine Improve Prospects for Cancer Patients?
- A Reappraisal of the Evidence to Date (1999). A positive
review based on the immuno-boosting properties of cimetidine.
Journal of Cancer Cimetidine increases survival
of colorectal cancer patients with high levels of sialyl Lewis-X
and sialyl Lewis-A epitope expression on tumour cells (2002).
Journal of Cancer Cimetidine modulates the antigen
presenting capacity of dendritic cells from colorectal cancer patients
A note on the immuno-boosting properties of cimetidine, with
bibliography up to 1988.
Colon Cancer Project A useful bibliography, up to 2002.
Genetics A US company who can test for the presence of
Lewis X and Lewis A ligands on tumours.