There remains controversy in the medical fields about the value of antioxidants, or risk of antioxidants in patients with cancer. In the Journal of International Medical research a pilot trial followed 41 patients over a 9 year period who had been diagnosed with end stage cancer. During this time they were given a mix of antioxidants including; Coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, selenium, folic acid and betacarotene.
The treatments were well tolerated and produced a > 40% increase in survival time with 76% of the patients surviving far longer than predicted. Whilst the study accounted for all participants and the disease course was well illustrated in all of the patients, there is a lack of retrospective design, matched controls and no blinding.
The patient numbers also make for a limited interpretation. However, it does support the notion that further investigations on the role of nutrients in the management of common pathways such as cytokines, inflammation and key suppressor genes such as P53 may have value.
Food selection, focused nutrients and enzyme therapies have been recommended for cancer patients for many decades and have slowly gained an increased level of respectability, in part due to the continued elucidation of mechanisms and pathways and to the increased willingness to study the effects.
Offering patients a chance to add benefit whilst managing risk is a compelling position for all practitioners, and the ongoing examination of nutrient combination in the management of patients with cancer, in which there is quality of life and life extension post diagnosis is an attractive option.
Hertz,N Lister,RE. Improved Survival in Patients with End-stage Cancer Treated with Coenzyme Q10 and other Antioxidants: a Pilot Study. The Journal of International Medical Research. 2009;37:1961-1971 View Full Paper