Vitamin E: The Evidence for Multiple Roles in Cancer.15 years, 10 months ago
Posted on Feb 02, 2004, 7 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
Sung L, Greenberg ML, Koren G, Tomlinson GA, Tong A, Malkin D, Feldman BM. Nutr Cancer. 2003; 46(1): 1-14. Abstract: A comprehensive literature review of vitamin E and cancer was conducted. Articles were organized into the following categories: 1) cancer prevention, 2) direct antineoplastic activity, 3) augmentation of chemotherapy effects, and 4) attenuation or treatment of chemotherapy toxicity.
Sung L, Greenberg ML, Koren G, Tomlinson GA, Tong A, Malkin D, Feldman BM. Nutr Cancer. 2003; 46(1): 1-14.
Abstract: A comprehensive literature review of vitamin E and cancer was conducted. Articles were organized into the following categories: 1) cancer prevention, 2) direct antineoplastic activity, 3) augmentation of chemotherapy effects, and 4) attenuation or treatment of chemotherapy toxicity. The evidence was systematically evaluated using guidelines developed by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. There is evidence to suggest that those individuals with higher serum vitamin E levels and those receiving vitamin E supplementation have a decreased risk of some cancers, including lung, prostate, stomach, and gastrointestinal carcinoma. However, these results differed depending on the study design and the population studied. There is insufficient evidence to support anticancer activity and attenuation of chemotherapy toxicity by vitamin E. Vitamin E is likely to be important in the prevention of some cancers. The therapeutic role of vitamin E is poorly understood. Further research will be required before routine use of vitamin E in patients with cancer can be advocated in the clinical setting.
Commentary: There are over 3,000 references on vitamin E and over 500 just on cancer alone. It is known that vitamin E will prevent adriamycin toxicity and human studies with more than 50,000 patients have shown that vitamin E (as well as other antioxidants) do not interfere with the therapeutic effects of chemotherapy and radiation. In fact, they may improve efficacy, prevent interruption of treatment, and most important - protect against the serious, debilitating side effects associated with these therapies. I have an excellent Powerpoint Presentation in my library, "Nutraceuticals in the War Against Cancer," with excellent references and data addressing this very issue. There is enough research available right now to recommend the use of antioxidants in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or radiation. It is amazing to me how many "cancer experts" jumped on the Erbitux bandwagon for the treatment of colon cancer when only an abstract was published! Not even a full scale scientific paper was published in a peer reviewed medical journal. And the results of the study were quite poor, non-significant tumor regression (far less than 50%-the gold standard) and tumors growing back within 1-3 months. The double-standard in the science world really needs to be addressed. It should be fair and just across the board. If we are interested in ending human suffering, merit should depend upon the outcomes of studies-not on whether or not a substance is natural or a synthesized drug, which can be patented.