High Dose Vitamin C for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

By Josh Goldstein, The Daily Dose @Jefferson

A small phase I clinical trial at Jefferson University Hospitals of high-dose, intravenous vitamin C in combination with chemotherapy medications show that this treatment is safe and may have promise for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

The study published in the open access online journal PLoS ONE tested the use of intravenous ascorbic acid (vitamin C) 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.

“These initial safety data do not reveal increased toxicity with the addition of ascorbic acid to gemcitabine and erlotinib in pancreatic cancer patients,” wrote the team of researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “This combination with the observed response to treatment suggests the need for a phase II study of longer duration.”

The research was conducted at Jefferson by a multidisciplinary team from the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Jefferson’s Department of Medical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Department of Radiology, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the NIH.

Daniel A. Monti, MD, Executive and Medical Director of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine and lead author of the study said, “We are pleased and encouraged by these results.”

Dr. Monti added, “it is a Jefferson priority to study promising therapies for pancreatic cancer. It is crucial to explore anything that might feasibly give these patients an edge. We are now actively enrolling eligible patients into the Phase II trial.”