Intravenous Vitamin C and Pancreatic Cancer

High dose vitamin C therapy or intravenous Vitamin C is a potent and safe anti-tumour therapy.  One recent study has demonstrated benefit in pancreatic cancer in conjunction with a common chemotherapy used to treat the disease, gemcitabine:

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;71(3):765-75. doi: 10.1007/s00280-013-2070-8. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Pharmacological ascorbate with gemcitabine for the control of metastatic and node-positive pancreatic cancer(PACMAN): results from a phase I clinical trial.

Source

Department of Surgery, 1528 JCP-UIHC, The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Treatment for pancreatic cancer with pharmacological ascorbate (ascorbic acidvitamin C) decreases tumor progression in preclinical models. A phase I clinical trial was performed to establish safety and tolerability of pharmacological ascorbate combined with gemcitabine in patients with biopsy-proven stage IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

DESIGN:

Nine subjects received twice-weekly intravenous ascorbate (15-125 g) employing Simon's accelerated titration design to achieve a targeted post-infusion plasma level of ≥350 mg/dL (≥20 mM). Subjects received concurrent gemcitabine. Disease burden, weight, performance status, hematologic and metabolic laboratories, time to progression and overall survival were monitored.

RESULTS:

Mean plasma ascorbate trough levels were significantly higher than baseline (1.46 ± 0.02 vs. 0.78 ± 0.09 mg/dL, i.e., 83 vs. 44 μM, p < 0.001). Adverse events attributable to the drug combination were rare and included diarrhea (n = 4) and dry mouth (n = 6). Dose-limiting criteria were not met for this study. Mean survival of subjects completing at least two cycles (8 weeks) of therapy was 13 ± 2 months.

CONCLUSIONS:

Data suggest pharmacologic ascorbate administered concurrently with gemcitabine is well tolerated. Initial data from this small sampling suggest some efficacy. Further studies powered to determine efficacy should be conducted.

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