High-dose vitamin C as a cancer therapyAlthough early clinical studies conducted by Linus Pauling showed that high-dose vitamin C, given by intravenous and oral routes, may improve symptoms and prolong life in patients with terminal cancer, no benefits for cancer patients were seen when vitamin C therapy was administered orally in double-blind placebo-controlled studies at the Mayo Clinic. Since then, high doses of vitamin C have been used only as an "alternative" therapy to standard cancer treatment. However, recent evidence shows that intravenous administration of the maximum tolerated dose of vitamin C produces plasma concentrations about 25 times higher than when the vitamin is administered orally. At concentrations above 1000 mmol/L -- which can only be achieved by the intravenous route -- vitamin C is toxic to some cancer cells but not to normal cells in vitro.
Padayatty and colleagues report on 3 well-documented cases of advanced cancers, confirmed by histopathologic review, where patients had unexpectedly long survival times after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy. They assessed the clinical details of each case in accordance with National Cancer Institute (NCI) Best Case Series guidelines, and found that the case reports indicate that the role of high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy in cancer treatment should be reassessed.
p. 937 Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases
-- S.J. Padayatty et al
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Apr 2016
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