You must read and accept the disclaimer to use this site. Updated when a question is received about this page.

Use of vitamin C to control cancer

For people dealing with cancer, I have recently reviewed some key articles about the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid, AA) to treat cancer. I am fortunate to be able to consult with two of the top experts about the use of AA for treating cancer. AA can be taken orally, but is most effective when given intravenously. In the classic paper by Linus Pauling, 2. below, people diagnosed with terminal cancer took 10 g AA daily. Note that in vitro 1mM AA kills human cancer cells without harming normal cells, and 14mM AA has been used in vivo through IV adminstration to human patients with advance cancer.

Assuming that taking vitamin C supplements above 500 mg twice a day are quickly filtered by the kidneys into the urine, and that typical urine output is no more than 2 liters per day, then taking 3 g of vitamin C twice a day would provide at least 14mM AA in the bladder continuously, which might be toxic to bladder cancer cells in the innermost layer of the bladder.

Below are some key references related to using high oral and intravenous levels of vitamin C to destroy cancer cells in human beings. Many people dealing with cancer would be well advised to examine these articles and discuss the use of vitamin C to help control cancer.

1. 2011 Levine, Vitamin C: A Concentration-Function Approach Yields Pharmacology andTherapeutic Discoveries, Mark Levine, et al, Adv. Nutr. 2: 78–88, 2011."With ingested amounts found in foods, vitamin C plasma concentrations do not exceed 100 mmol/L. Even with supplementation approaching maximally tolerated doses, ascorbate plasma
concentrations are always <250 mmol/L and frequently <150 mmol/L. By contrast, when ascorbate is i.v. injected, tight control is bypassed until excess ascorbate is eliminated by glomerular filtration and renal excretion. With i.v. infusion, pharmacologic ascorbate concentrations of 25–30 mmol/L are safely achieved." SUMMARY: 25mM/L in serum is safe.

2. 1978 Linus Pauling, Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Reevaluation of prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer* (vitamin C) EWAN CAMERON AND LINUS PAULING, Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 75, No. 9, pp. 4538-4542, September 1978 SUMMARY: 10g/d orally; LINUS PAULING's work; includes 7 case-control bladder cancer patients taking 10g/day vitamin C; prolonged survival; no side effects.

3. 2010 Padayatty- Vitamin C: Intravenous Use by Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners and Adverse Effects Sebastian J. Padayatty PLoS ONE 5(7): e11414. SUMMARY: Conclusions: High dose IV vitamin C is in unexpectedly wide use by Complementary and Alternate Medicine practitioners. 172 practitioners administered IV vitamin C to 11,233 patients in 2006 and 8876 patients in 2008.

4. 2008 Levine - ; Phase I clinical trial of i.v. ascorbic acid in advanced malignancy, L. J. Hoffer1*, M. Levine et al, Annals of Oncology 19: 1969–1974, SUMMARY: High-dose i.v. ascorbic acid was well tolerated

5. 2006 Levine - - Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases, Sebastian J. Padayatty, MARK LEVINE, et al SUMMARY: the maximum tolerated dose of vitamin C (18 g/d) produces peak plasma concentrations of only 220 μmol/L, whereas intravenous administration of the same dose produces plasma concentrations about 25-fold higher. Larger doses (50–100 g) given intravenously may result in plasma concentrations of about 14 000 μmol/L. At concentrations above 1000 μmol/L, vitamin C is toxic to some cancer cells but not to normal cells in vitro. We found 3 well-documented cases of advanced cancers, confirmed by histopathologic review, where patients had unexpectedly long survival times after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy.

6. 1994 Lamm - Jan;151(1):21-6. J Urol Megadose vitamins in bladder cancer: a double-blind clinical trial. Lamm DL, Riggs DR, Shriver JS, vanGilder PF, Rach JF, DeHaven JI.
SUMMARY: The 5-year estimates of tumor recurrence are 91% in the RDA arm and 41% in the megadose arm; recommended daily allowance (RDA) versus RDA multivitamins plus 40,000 units vitamin A, 100 mg. vitamin B6, 2,000 mg. vitamin C, 400 units vitamin E and 90 mg. zinc.

7. 2005 Chen - Chen Q, Espey MG, Krishna MC, Mitchell JB, Corpe CP, Buettner GR, Shacter E, Levine M. Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 20;102(38):13604-9.. "Cell death in 10 cancer and 4 normal cell types was measured by using 1-h exposures. Normal cells were unaffected by 20 mM ascorbate, whereas 5 cancer lines had EC(50) values of <4 mM, a concentration easily achievable i.v. Human lymphoma cells were studied in detail because of their sensitivity to ascorbate (EC(50) of 0.5 mM) and suitability for addressing mechanisms. Extracellular but not intracellular ascorbate mediated cell death, which occurred by apoptosis and pyknosis/necrosis. Cell death was independent of metal chelators and absolutely dependent on H(2)O(2) formation. Cell death from H(2)O(2) added to cells was identical to that found when H(2)O(2) was generated by ascorbate treatment. H(2)O(2) generation was dependent on ascorbate concentration, incubation time, and the presence of 0.5-10% serum, and displayed a linear relationship with ascorbate radical formation. Although ascorbate addition to medium generated H(2)O(2), ascorbate addition to blood generated no detectable H(2)O(2) and only trace detectable ascorbate radical. Taken together, these data indicate that ascorbate at concentrations achieved only by i.v. administration may be a pro-drug for formation of H(2)O(2), and that blood can be a delivery system of the pro-drug to tissues."

*To review the disclaimer. *To ask Nutrition Investigator (Roc) a question.

"Modern science is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and the amount of scientific data is doubling every year." -Raddick et al, Science 3298:1028 (2010)

You must read and accept the disclaimer to use this site.