The role of intravenous [IV] Vitamin C [Ascorbate] in the therapeutic treatment of Cancer

Vitetta, L (2011). The role of intravenous [IV] Vitamin C [Ascorbate] in the therapeutic treatment of Cancer. In: International Conference on the Science of Nutrition in Medicine and Healthcare, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (). 13-15 May 2011.

Author Vitetta, L
Title of paper The role of intravenous [IV] Vitamin C [Ascorbate] in the therapeutic treatment of Cancer
Conference name International Conference on the Science of Nutrition in Medicine and Healthcare
Conference location Sydney, NSW, Australia
Conference dates 13-15 May 2011
Convener The Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) Inc, the Food and Nutritional Sciences Division of the CSIRO and the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA)
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Oral presentation
Language eng
Abstract/Summary A key/critical distinction between conventional science–based medicine and alternative therapies is the presence or absence of scientific plausibility.1 In conventional medicine, the credible efficacy of treatment is proven by properly conducted clinical trials. Many treatments are still used if there is moderately good, albeit inconclusive evidence of efficacy especially when treatment rationale agrees with biologic facts, thereby conferring biological plausibility. Over a period of some decades the concept has been extant that superoxide–anion formation and products arising from it are highly toxic substances, which lead to random deleterious oxidation of macromolecules. Such observations have served to confuse the role of ascorbate [a bastion of the anti–oxidant family of molecules] in cancer treatment. Biologically, vitamin C is anything but an anti–oxidant. In addition to it’s catalytic role it is a pro–oxidant drug when administered IV in high pharmacological doses. Vitamin C is an alternative cancer therapy because the results obtained in original studies that suggested clinical benefit, were not confirmed by controlled clinical trials, and the notion that high–doses were selectively toxic to cancer cells was biologically implausible. Studies with doses of vitamin C used by Cameron–Pauling3 and Mayo Clinic studies further exacerbated the clinical controversy.4 The basis for the discrediting of high dose IV ascorbate was fundamentally in error being based on data obtained using high dose oral ascorbate as compared to Cameron–Pauling studies that combined IV and oral administration. Recent studies have confirmed the cytotoxicity of vitamin C. Pharmacokinetic modelling studies indicate that with oral administration, even very large and frequent doses of vitamin C will increase plasma concentrations only modestly, from 70 μmol/L to a maximum of 220 μmol/L, whereas IV administration raises plasma concentrations as high as 14000 μmol/L. Concentrations of 1000–5000 μmol/L are selectively cytotoxic to tumour cells in vitro.5,7,8 Furthermore daily and even a single infusion of pharmacologic doses of ascorbate can significantly decrease growth rates of some tumours established in mice. Clinically high dose ascorbate administered via IV infusions may improve symptoms and prolong life in patients with terminal cancer. High ascorbate doses administered IV have confirmed its low toxicity and lack of adverse side effectswith the exclusion of those having glucose–6–phosphate dehydrogenase deficiencies, susceptibility to forming oxalate kidney stones or who have kidney failure. Despite the positive in vitro and in vivo animal evidence a Phase I clinical trial of IV ascorbate in advanced malignancy failed to show efficacy. This lecture will present the requisite for further basic research as to the mode of action of ascorbate as a therapeutic option to treat malignancies and discuss our current research issues.
Keyword Ascorbate Metabolism
Cancer - treatment
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Mon, 16 May 2011, 20:49:17 EST by Dr Luis Vitetta on behalf of Medicine - Princess Alexandra Hospital