Study Results Show Promise and Indicate Further Investigation is Warranted
SCHAUMBURG, Ill., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The use of vitamin C
to treat cancer patients first became popular in the 1970s as a result of the
work of Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. However, studies conducted with orally
dosed supplements did not demonstrate any clinical benefit in cancer patients,
most likely due to the finding that the levels of orally-administered vitamin C
delivered to a patient's blood stream were considerably lower than the levels
needed to kill cancer cells in either test tube or animal models. Recent studies
in which vitamin C was administered intravenously (by IV) resulted in higher
levels delivered to the patient's bloodstream suggest that vitamin C may, in
fact, promote anti-cancer activity.
A research team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), led by Robert
Levin, MD, and Christopher M. Stephenson, DO, recently completed a phase I
clinical trial to determine the pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability of
IV-administered, high dose vitamin C at levels that could potentially achieve
the serum concentrations adequate for anti-cancer activity. The results have
been published in the May edition of Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology.
As noted in the study, a previous hPase I IV vitamin C trial stopped dose
escalation at approximately 56 g/m2, when peak blood levels approached 26 mM, a
level that inhibited tumor growth in mice. However, 30-40 mM ascorbic acid in
mouse blood only partially inhibited the rate of tumor growth and did not result
in tumor regression. Dr. Stephenson and his team were seeking to obtain even
higher blood concentrations. Their 70-80 g/m2 dose delivered blood
concentrations of 49 mM. These levels appear to have a greater potential for
producing anti-cancer activity in future studies.
"While this may be the baseline for treatment potential," said Dr. Stephenson,
"it suggests we are on the right track for future studies and eventual use in
The use of IV-administered vitamin C in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy
is further encouraged by a recent report showing that vitamin C potentiated the
antitumor activity of gemcitabine against seven human and one murine pancreatic
cancer cell lines. This observation is of particular interest as two of the
human lines were resistant to gemcitabine. Synergistic antitumor activity
occurred in tissue culture and in vivo studies with implanted tumors in mice. In
addition, a recently published phase I clinical trial evaluated IV-administered
vitamin C combined with gemcitabine and erlotinib in nine patients with stage IV
metastatic pancreatic cancer. Pharmacologic levels of vitamin C were potentially
achieved in all participants and tumor volumes decreased in eight out of nine
The findings of the CTCA study, coupled with the emerging evidence from the
available literature, suggest that the combination of IV-administered vitamin C
with gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer is therapeutic approach that
warrants further evaluation. The CTCA research team is planning to conduct a
phase 2 study using the higher dose of 70-80 g/m2 to achieve more adequate and
longer lasting blood concentrations of vitamin C to better understand the
possible outcome of this increased dosage.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America(R)
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA) is a national network of
hospitals focusing on complex and advanced stage cancer. CTCA offers a
comprehensive, fully integrative approach to cancer treatment and serves
patients from all 50 states at facilities located in Atlanta, Chicago,
Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Known for delivering the Mother Standard(R) of
care and Patient Empowerment Medicine(R), CTCA provides patients with
information about cancer and their treatment options so they can control their
treatment decisions. For more information about CTCA, go to
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SOURCE Cancer Treatment Centers of America