US/Shark cartilage ineffective in advanced cancer (30/10/1998)
Shark cartilage ineffective in advanced
NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters Health) -- Although shark cartilage
has been touted as an alternative antitumor therapy, a new study suggests that
it "showed no anticancer activity" when used to treat patients with advanced
In a study of 60 patients with advanced cancer -- including
cancer of the breast, colon or rectum, prostate, and brain, or non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma -- treatment with shark cartilage did not appear to be beneficial,
according to the report in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical
None of the patients had either complete or partial remission of
their cancer, although 10 (16.7%) remained stable, a rate similar to that in
advanced cancer patients treated with standard, supportive care.
As part of the study, the patients took shark cartilage daily,
with individualized doses calculated at 1 gram per kilogram of weight, divided
into three doses. Of the 47 patients that were followed throughout the entire
12-week study, 5 stopped taking the shark cartilage because of stomach upset or
an inability to tolerate the treatment.
The cancer progressed in 22 patients after 6-weeks of treatment,
and five more after 12 weeks. Five patients died of cancer during the study.
An estimated 50,000 cancer patients in the US take shark
cartilage, either alone or in addition to conventional treatment, according to
"Based on the results of this study, shark cartilage therapy with this dose schedule and route of administration in breast, colon, and lung cancer showed no anticancer activity," conclude Dr. Denis Miller, of the Cancer Treatment
Research Foundation in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical
Copyright © 1998 Reuters Ltd.