Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from JTM and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C on inflammation in cancer patients

Nina Mikirova*, Joseph Casciari, Andrea Rogers and Paul Taylor

Author Affiliations

Riordan Clinic, 3100 North Hillside, Wichita, KS, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Journal of Translational Medicine 2012, 10:189  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-189

Published: 11 September 2012

Abstract

Background

An inflammatory component is present in the microenvironment of most neoplastic tissues. Inflammation and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with poor prognosis and decreased survival in many types of cancer.

Vitamin C has been suggested as having both a preventative and therapeutic role in a number of pathologies when administered at much higher-than-recommended dietary allowance levels.

Since in vitro studies demonstrated inhibition of pro-inflammatory pathways by millimolar concentrations of vitamin C, we decided to analyze the effects of high dose IVC therapy in suppression of inflammation in cancer patients.

Methods

45 patients with prostate cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, skin cancer and B-cell lymphoma were treated at the Riordan Clinic by high doses of vitamin C (7.5 g -50 g) after standard treatments by conventional methods.

CRP and tumor markers were measured in serum or heparin-plasma as a routine analysis. In addition, serum samples were collected before and after the IVCs for the cytokine kit tests.

Results

According to our data positive response to treatment, which was demonstrated by measurements of C- reactive protein, was found in 75% of patients and progression of the inflammation in 25% of patients. IVC treatments on all aggressive stage cancer patients showed the poor response of treatment.

There was correlation between tumor markers (PSA, CEA, CA27.29 and CA15-3) and changes in the levels of C-reactive protein.

Our test of the effect of IVC on pro-inflammatory cytokines demonstrated that inflammation cytokines IL-1α, IL-2, IL-8, TNF-α, chemokine eotaxin and CRP were reduced significantly after treatments.

Conclusions

The high dose intravenous ascorbic acid therapy affects C-reactive protein levels and pro-inflammation cytokines in cancer patients. In our study, we found that modulation of inflammation by IVC correlated with decreases in tumor marker levels.

In summary, our data support the hypothesis that high dose intravenous ascorbate treatments may reduce inflammation in cancer patients. Our results suggest that further investigations into the use of IVC to reduce inflammation in diseases where inflammation is relevant are warranted.