[MOL] shark cartilage ineffective in advanced cancer [01027] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] shark cartilage ineffective in advanced cancer

US/Shark cartilage ineffective in advanced cancer (30/10/1998)

Shark cartilage ineffective in advanced cancer

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 cancer.

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 Oncology.

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 the report.

"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 colleagues.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology 1998;16:3649-3655.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Ltd.