Antioxidant Nutrients: Supportive Use in Patients with Lung Cancer Receiving Radiation and Chemotherapy

Antioxidant Nutrients: Supportive Use in Patients with Lung Cancer Receiving Radiation and Chemotherapy

Reviewed by: D. Brown

Reference: Jaakola K, Lahteenmaki P, et al: Treatment with antioxidant and other nutrient in combination with chemotherapy and irradiation in patients with small-lung cancer. Anticancer Res 12: 599-606, 1992.

Summary: 18 patients with small-cell lung cancer received, in addition to radiation and chemotherapy, antioxidant treatment with vitamins, trace elements, and essential fatty acids. Five patients were in an advanced stage of the disease. At the end of the follow-up period, the average survival time for the whole group was 505 days.

Fourteen patients (77%) survived for more than 12 months and six patients (33%) for more than two years. One patient survived for more than five years. Eight patients (44%) were still alive with a mean survival time of 32 months at the end of the study.

Ten patients succumbed earlier from disease progression. Antioxidant treatment, in combination with radiation and chemotherapy, prolonged the survival time of patients with small-cell lung cancer compared to other published treatment regimes alone. Surviving patients typically started antioxidant therapy earlier when compared to those that succumbed. Tolerance for radiation and chemotherapy was greater among the antioxidant-treated group.

Comments/Opinions: This study demonstrates the importance of antioxidants as supportive tools in the successful treatment of cancer and not just effective deterrents to its onset Small-cell lung cancer is associated with early metastasis and rapid progression. Aggressive treatment is usually indicated. As part of a multiple vitamin, mineral, and essential fatty acid supplements, the antioxidants in this study included vitamin A (15,000-40,000 IU/day), beta-carotene (10,000-20,000 IU/day), vitamin E (300-800IU/day), ascorbic acid (2,000-5,000 mg/day), manganese (97-194mg/day), and sodium selenate (856-3424mcg/day). Variations in daily dose was based on individual micronutrient status which was measured prior to the beginning of the supplements. The form of "essential fatty acid supplements" is unclear.

This data, coupled with previous studies and clinical reports indicating the efficacy of adaptogenic phytomedicines like Eleutherococcus senticosus and Astragalus membranaceous in the reduction of side effects of radiation and chemotherapy particularly support for the hematopoietic system (blood-forming organs -- particularly the bone marrow and lymph nodes) -- further supports the role of natural medicines in the long-term survival of cancer patients. The use of flavonoids should not be overlooked in this area.

Article copyright Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.

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By D. Brown

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