Are There Proven Herbal Approaches To Cancer


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Information regarding the current naturalistic options that have a proven benefit.

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Are There Proven Herbal Approaches To Cancer

  1. 1. Are There Proven Herbal Approaches to Cancer??* J. David Pitcher, Jr., MD *Referencing a lecture given by Veronika Butterweck, PhD
  2. 2. Herbal Products 60,000,000 adults in the U.S. used herbal products in 2002 $54.00/person average cost Approx. 3 ¼ billion $ U.S. Perception of the public as safer, less caustic, and lower cost
  3. 3. Herbal Products Used by cancer patients: Attempting to prevent cancer Attempting to treat cancer Attempting to treat adverse effects associated with other cancer treatments
  4. 4. Herbal Products Plants useful in preventing cancer: tomatoes, garlic, green tea, soy beans More research needed for: mistletoe Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting effectively treated with: ginger
  5. 5. Lycopenes Abundant in several fruits including guava, watermelon, pink grapefruit, rosehips, and tomatoes Tomato products (tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup) are the major dietary source of lycopene A carotenoid A powerful antioxidant that has shown beneficial activity in several diseases (cardiovascular, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis)
  6. 6. Carotenoid Biosynthesis Lycopene undergoes cyclization of one or both end groups alpha-carotene beta-carotene delta-carotene gamma-carotene
  7. 7. Proven Anti-Cancer Activity?? Epidemiologic and case-control studies have associated increased consumption of tomato products and greater blood concentrations of lycopene with a reduced risk of mortality from several cancers, including prostate and lung cancers In prostate cancer a reduction in risk of 33% was found among men who consumed > 10 servings of tomato products per week (30-50mg per day) (Giovanucci, 1995, JNCI 87:1767) Levels of serum PSA were found to decline in patients who received lycopene tomato extract (Kucuk, 2001, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 10:861 15 mg lycopene 2 x daily 3 weeks before radical prostatectomy: smaller tumors (80% vs 45%), less involvement of surgical margins (Kucuk, 2002, Exp Biol Med 227:881)
  8. 8. Lycopene or tomato sauce? 66 patients diagnosed by biopsy with prostate carcinoma were given either tomato sauce pasta entrees or lycopene (30 mb/day) or no tomato sauce for 3 weeks before prostatectomy Tomato sauce consumption appeared to increase cell death in carcinomas, compared with controls (Kim, Nutrition Cancer, 2003, 47:40)
  9. 9. Anything else in the tomato? Beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, epsilon-carotene, phytoene, and phytofluene are all shown to accumulate in prostate tissue upon dietary inclusion of the tomato Acycloretinoic acid has been shown to be an oxidative product of lycopene in pig and human liver fractions
  10. 10. Garlic
  11. 11. Sulfur Compounds in Garlic Alliin (major cysteine sulfoxide in Garlic) + Alliinase (an enzyme in fresh, whole Garlic or correctly dried Garlic powders) → Allicin, the active antibiotic compound Allicin → sulfides, ajoene, dithiins, etc.
  12. 12. Garlic and Cancer Ancient Egyptians, Indians, and Greeks all used garlic externally to treat tumors Dietary intake of garlic is associated with significant, dose-dependent reductions in risk of specific cancers, including colon and stomach cancer (Boon & Wong, Expert Opinion in Oncol, 2004, 5:2485) Consumption of aqueous garlic extract significantly lowered total and free PSA values; and significantly improved urinary frequency and flow (Durak, Nutrition Res, 2003, 23, 199)
  13. 13. Chemoprotective Properties Induction of phase II detoxification enzymes glutathione transferases, quinone reductase, epoxide hydrolase… Antioxidant activity = cancer prevention Free radicals => lipid peroxidation => carcinogenesis and reduction of endogenous antioxidant levels Garlic reduces lipid peroxidation and increases levels of vitamins C and E, superoxide dismutase, catalase, etc.
  14. 14. Green Tea (Camellia sinensis L.) Flavanols, flavonols, lignans, ellagitannins Antioxidants, anti-inflammatories Helps prevent cancers, atherosclerosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease
  15. 15. Flavonols in Green Tea Antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic & anti- inflammatory flavonols contribute to Green Tea’s therapeutic effects quercetin myricetin
  16. 16. Green Tea & Cancer A total of 20 studies reported that green tea decreases the general risk of cancer incidence, cancers of the breast, GI system, lungs, ovaries, prostate, and urinary system (Boon & Wong, Expert Opinion in Oncol, 2004, 5:2485) Amount of green tea: 1-200 g/month or 85.7 ml/day (approx 10 cups) A follow-up case control study found a significant improvement of the 5-year survival rate of bladder cancer patients who consumed green tea (Wakai, Jpn J Cancer Res, 1993, 84:1223)
  17. 17. Soy Products Major compounds: genistein daidzein glycitein glucosides: denistin, daidzin, glycitin acetlyglucosides & malonylglucosides
  18. 18. Cancer preventive Soy appears to have a protective effect for a variety of cancers. The evidence is not generally definitive for any specific dose or cancer type A total of 17 case-control and cohort studies reported that intake of soy decreased the occurrence of breast, lung, stomach, endometrium, prostate, and thyroid cancer (Boon & Wong, Expert Opinion in Oncol, 2004, 5:2485) The doses reported ranged from 0.1-0.5 g/day to 140 g/day Anti-angiogenic effects of genistein, daidzein, and biochanin A may contribute to antitumor activity
  19. 19. Cancer treatment Prostate cancer: controversial results Soy protein supplementation (2 x daily 57 mg soy isoflavones, 3 months) lead to a trend towards longer PSA doubling time (Spentzos, Clin Can Res 2003, 9:3282 No significant difference between baseline and post-treatment serum levels of total PSA (12 weeks treatment, 60 gm genistein/ day)(Kumar, Prostate, 2004, 59:141) Strong antioxidants in in vitro assays
  20. 20. Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) Immunostimulant Contains lectins (Specialized proteins); ML I or viscumin, ML II & ML III that are cytotoxic to human leukemia cells Also has viscotoxins, proteins that have some anticancer effects Flavonoids, lignans
  21. 21. Mistletoe & Cancer Patients with pancreatic cancer had better survival times, compared with stage-related survival reported in literature (Schafferm eyer, Complement The Med, 1998, 6:172) Several studies of cancer patients including carcinoma of the GI tract, breast, and lung cancer indicated that the mean survival time was ~ 40% longer than in the control groups (Grossarth- Maticek, Altern Ther Health Med, 2001, 7:57) In colorectal cancer patients who had undergone surgery treatment with chemotherapy + mistletoe extract had better survival rates compared with those patients receiving chemotherapy alone (Cazacu, Cancer Biother Radiopharm, 2003, 18:27)
  22. 22. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) One of ginger’s primary usage is as an antiemetic for motion sickness, postoperative nausea and vomiting, and intense morning sickness
  23. 23. Ginger Gingerols make up the resinous fraction – the main pungent constituents Anti-inflammatory COX-2 inhibitors Antiemetic Antioxidant
  24. 24. Treatment of nausea Encapsulated ginger given over a 2-day period (dose not provided) significantly decreased severity and duration of nause in leukemia patients (Pace, Dissertation Abstracts International, 1986, 47:3297) Powdered ginger toot, metoclopramide, ondansetron: The antiemetic efficacy of ginger was found to be equal to that of metoclopramide but ondansetron was found to be superior to both (Sontakke, Indian J Pharmocol, 2003, 35:32) Proposed mechanism: 5-HT3 antagonism
  25. 25. Summary & Conclusion Overall decreased risk of cancer associated with taking garlic, green tea, soy, and tomatoes Mimimum dose associated with decreased cancer risk has not been clearly defined There is no guarantee that patients will not develop cancer if they ingest any (or all) of these herbs Herbal medicines will not replace conventional medicines The reviewed herbs have no significant adverse effects and do not interact negatively with conventional treatments