The Effect of Vitamin C in Mesothelioma

The Effect of Vitamin C in Mesothelioma | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Among the alternative methods referenced in the discourse of cancer treatment, vitamin C is often debated and has been a topic of controversy for more than half a century. In 1952, Dr. William J. McCormick was the first to suggest that vitamin C could strengthen collagen, thereby preventing the spread of cancer cells throughout the body. Nearly twenty years later, two Nobel Prize winning doctors coauthored several case studies suggesting high doses of the vitamin could prolong and improve life in cancer patients.

Recently, researchers at the National Institute of Health shed light on the potential benefits of vitamin C in cancer patients. Doctors tested intravenous and intraperitoneal injections of vitamin C in mouse models of pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma, and ovarian cancer. All three tumors showed a reduction in growth by 50%. While untreated mice showed cancer spread of about 30%, none of the mice treated with vitamin C showed any spread whatsoever. Mesothelioma attorneys highlight the efforts made by researchers in the field of alternative cancer therapies. Any developments in mesothelioma research are extremely valuable, and will help save thousands of lives endangered by exposure to asbestos. Supplementary work done by experts at the University of Kansas Medical Center found similar conclusions in human patients with ovarian cancer.

Vitamin C seems to have a converse effect when combined with some chemotherapy drugs, however. In a study published in Cancer Research, investigators injected tumor-bearing mice with a combination of DHA, the oxidized form of vitamin C, and the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. Led by Dr. Heaney of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the study found that mice receiving the combination had tumors four times larger than tumors in mice treated with doxorubicin alone. This study suggests vitamin C could be somewhat of a double-edged sword in cancer treatment, extremely beneficial to some, and questionable in others.

A Jefferson University research team found very different results, however, when they combined vitamin C dosages with chemotherapy medications. The study tested the use of the vitamin three times a week over an eight week cycle in nine patients with metastatic stage IV pancreatic cancer in addition to standard gemcitabine and erlotinib chemotherapy regimens. They found that this treatment was safe and had significant promise for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

While the potential anticancer effects of vitamin C have been studied for decades, the most recent findings highlight that the delivery method appears to be critical for efficacy. When vitamin C is taken orally, the body prevents blood levels of ascorbate from exceeding a narrow range. New findings suggest that hydrogen peroxide formation, a result of the ascorbate treatment, is responsible for this anticancer activity. Study authors still suggest that high doses of vitamin C should be studied in combination with other cancer therapies in humans.

Studies have almost universally shown that eating foods rich in vitamin C will reduce the risk of cancer, and many mesothelioma patients have benefitted from adopting health eating habits, consuming an assortment of fruits and vegetables and reductions in grains and sugars. 

Cisplatin is a common chemotherapy drug prescribed to victims of mesothelioma. Like all chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin has many side effects, including liver damage, which is most common in patients with especially high or frequent dosages. A study published in Food and Function treated lab mice with cisplatin, which consequently resulted in liver degeneration and cell death. These mice were then supplemented with one of a number of treatments, including vitamin C. The study found that those mice supplemented with vitamin C received the greatest restorative benefits, and showed signs of preventing liver damage enzymes.

Each individual patient responds differently to treatments. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, consider talking to your doctor about receiving vitamin C supplements. Good nutrition is of utmost importance to prevent and fight mesothelioma. If you believe your illness may have been caused by exposure to asbestos, a mesothelioma attorney can explain your legal rights.