The Use of Antioxidants with First-Line Chemotherapy in Two Cases of Ovarian Cancer

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 39012 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.45). 05/2003; 22(2):118-23. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2003.10719284
Source: PubMed


Because of poor overall survival in advanced ovarian malignancies, patients often turn to alternative therapies despite controversy surrounding their use. Currently, the majority of cancer patients combine some form of complementary and alternative medicine with conventional therapies. Of these therapies, antioxidants, added to chemotherapy, are a frequent choice.
For this preliminary report, two patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer were studied. One patient had Stage IIIC papillary serous adenocarcinoma, and the other had Stage IIIC mixed papillary serous and seromucinous adenocarcinoma. Both patients were optimally cytoreduced prior to first-line carboplatinum/paclitaxel chemotherapy. Patient 2 had a delay in initiation of chemotherapy secondary to co-morbid conditions and had evidence for progression of disease prior to institution of therapy. Patient 1 began oral high-dose antioxidant therapy during her first month of therapy. This consisted of oral vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q-10 and a multivitamin/mineral complex. In addition to the oral antioxidant therapy, patient 1 added parenteral ascorbic acid at a total dose of 60 grams given twice weekly at the end of her chemotherapy and prior to consolidation paclitaxel chemotherapy. Patient 2 added oral antioxidants just prior to beginning chemotherapy, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, coenzyme Q-10 and a multivitamin/mineral complex. Patient 2 received six cycles of paclitaxel/carboplatinum chemotherapy and refused consolidation chemotherapy despite radiographic evidence of persistent disease. Instead, she elected to add intravenous ascorbic acid at 60 grams twice weekly. Both patients gave written consent for the use of their records in this report.
Patient 1 had normalization of her CA-125 after the first cycle of chemotherapy and has remained normal, almost 3(1/2) years after diagnosis. CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis remain without evidence of recurrence. Patient 2 had normalization of her CA-125 after the first cycle of chemotherapy. After her first round of chemotherapy, the patient was noted to have residual disease in the pelvis. She declined further chemotherapy and added intravenous ascorbic acid. There is no evidence for recurrent disease by physical examination, and her CA-125 has remained normal three years after diagnosis.
Antioxidants, when added adjunctively, to first-line chemotherapy, may improve the efficacy of chemotherapy and may prove to be safe. A review of four common antioxidants follows. Because of the positive results found in these two patients, a randomized controlled trial is now underway at the University of Kansas Medical Center evaluating safety and efficacy of antioxidants when added to chemotherapy in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer.

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    • "ascorbate had unexpected positive effects in a patient with kidney cancer and lung metastasis, a patient with invasive bladder cancer, and a patient with a diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Two other cases with positive tumor response in ovarian cancer were reported by Drisko et al. (2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Effectiveness and low-toxicity to normal tissues are ideal properties for a cancer treatment, and one that numerous research programs are aiming for. Vitamin C has long been used in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a cancer treatment, with profound safety and anecdotal efficacy. Recent studies revealed the scientific basis for this use, and indicated that vitamin C, at supra-nutritional doses, holds considerable promise as an effective and low-toxic therapeutic strategy to treat cancer. Reviewed here are the early controversies surrounding vitamin C and cancer treatment, the breakthrough discoveries that led to the current advancement, and recent clinical studies, as well as research into its mechanisms of action.
    Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 05/2015; 93(12):150527143613006. DOI:10.1139/cjpp-2014-0509 · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    • "Patients given IVC in addition to standard oncologic treatments benefited from less fatigue, reduction in nausea, improved appetite, reductions in depression and fewer sleep disorders [36,37], and their overall intensity scores of adverse symptoms during therapy and aftercare were half those of the control (no IVC) group. Other studies report anti-cancer efficacy, improved patient well-being, and decreases in markers of inflammation and tumor growth [38-43]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, ascorbate) is a key water soluble antioxidant that, when administered in doses well above its recommended dietary allowance, may have preventative and therapeutic value against a number of pathologies. The intravenous administration of high dose ascorbate (IVC) has increased in popularity among complementary and alternative medicine practitioners: thousands of patients received IVC, at an average dose of 0.5 g/kg, without significant side effects. While IVC may have a variety of possible applications, it has generated the most interest for its potential use in treating cancer. Medical records of patients with cancer treated with IVC at the Riordan Clinic were retrospectively reviewed. Cancer patients, for whom plasma ascorbate concentration data before and after treatment were available, along with C-reactive protein (CRP) measurements, were chosen for analysis. The results of the analysis can be summarized as follows. IVC produces peak plasma ascorbate concentrations on the order of ten millimolars with lower peak plasma concentrations obtained in cancer patients as compared to healthy subjects. Cancer patients who are deficient in vitamin C prior to therapy tend to achieve lower plasma levels post infusion. High inflammation or tumor burdens, as measured by CRP or tumor antigen levels, tend to lower peak plasma ascorbate levels after IVC. When compared to patients with localized tumors, patients with metastatic tumors tend to achieve lower post infusion plasma ascorbate concentrations. The data indicate that, while potentially therapeutic plasma ascorbate concentrations can be achieved with IVC, levels attained will vary based on tumor burden and degree of inflammation (among other factors). Evidence suggests that IVC may be able to modulate inflammation, which in turn might improve outcomes for cancer patients. IVC may serve as a safe, adjunctive therapy in clinical cancer care.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 08/2013; 11(1):191. DOI:10.1186/1479-5876-11-191 · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Leukemic cells (2×106) were mixed with 100 μl basement membrane matrix (BD Biosciences), and the mixture was transplanted subcutaneously into the right flank of 8-week-old nude mice. On day 8 after transplantation, the tumor volume was measured, and the mice were then injected intravenously with 100 μl of AA at a high concentration (0.5 mg/g body weight, which is similar to the pharmacologic doses for humans and rats [6], [7], [24]–[26]), or saline solution as a bolus twice daily for the designated periods. The tumor volume was measured at the times indicated in the figures. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the antileukemic effects of high concentrations of L-ascorbic acid (high AA) on human leukemic cells. In vitro, high AA markedly induced apoptosis in various leukemic cell lines by generating hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) but not in normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. High AA significantly repressed leukemic cell proliferation as well as neoangiogenesis in immunodeficient mice. We then noted that in leukemic cells, HIF-1α transcription was strongly suppressed by high AA and correlated with the transcription of VEGF. Our data indicate that exposure to high AA markedly increased the intracellular AA content of leukemic cells and inhibited the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which mediates expression of HIF-1α. We next generated K562 cells that overexpressed HIF-1α (K562-HIF1α cells) and assessed the mechanistic relationship between inhibition of HIF-1α transcription and the antileukemic effect of high AA. The ability of high AA to induce apoptosis was significantly lower in K562-HIF1α cells than in K562 cells in vitro. We found that expression of HIF-1α-regulated antiapoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family, such as Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, and Bcl-2, was significantly suppressed by high AA in K562 cells, but was sustained at higher levels in K562-HIF1α cells, regardless of high AA exposure. Moreover, repression of cell proliferation and neoangiogenesis by high AA was completely abrogated in mice receiving transplants of K562-HIF1α cells. These results indicate that, along with H2O2 generation, downregulation of HIF-1α transcription plays a crucial role in growth inhibition of human leukemic cells by high AA.
    PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e62717. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0062717 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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