HOME >> MEDICINE >> NEWS
Mistletoe is not an anti-cancer drug, say doctors

The belief that mistletoe can help treat cancer is a myth which can cause harm, warn doctors in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

The warning follows the case of a cancer patient who attended hospital with a tumour-like growth under the skin induced by mistletoe.

Some patients with cancer inject themselves mistletoe extract in the hope of improving their condition, writes complementary medicine expert, Professor Edzard Ernst in an accompanying editorial. In continental Europe, at least 30 different mistletoe preparations are available and in Germany, the insurance system pays for this treatment. A Google search also showed that 145,000 websites promote or mention mistletoe as a treatment for cancer.

So, is mistletoe an effective anticancer drug and how safe is it?

The theory that mistletoe might help treat cancer is based on the fact that, like cancer, mistletoe is a parasitic growth that eventually kills its host, says Ernst. Despite the implausibility of this idea, studies have shown that mistletoe or its main constituents do have anticancer activity. However, many plants have some sort of anticancer activity, but in most cases the compounds cannot be used.

Proponents claim that regular injections of mistletoe extract improve the natural course of cancer by slowing down or stopping tumour growth and improve quality of life.

Yet a wide range of serious adverse reactions have been noted, such as anaphylaxis, breathing difficulties, joint pain and kidney failure. Some studies even suggest that mistletoe extract may enhance the proliferation of some cancers.

So the claim that mistletoe injections have no serious risks is misleading, argues Ernst.

Mistletoe has been tested extensively as a treatment for cancer, but the most reliable trials fail to show benefit, and some reports show considerable potential for harm. The costs of regular mistletoe injections are also high.

'"/>

Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
21-Dec-2006


Page: 1 2

Related medicine news :

1. New algorithm matches any tumor cells to best possible anti-cancer treatments
2. UCLA researchers develop new nanomaterials to deliver anti-cancer drugs to cells
3. Vorinostat shows anti-cancer activity in recurrent gliomas
4. Research says boiling broccoli ruins its anti-cancer properties
5. Northwestern chemists develop new method for synthesizing anti-cancer flavonoids
6. Erectile dysfunction drugs heighten natural anti-cancer activity
7. New litmus test could aid discovery of anti-cancer drugs
8. Derivatives of cannabis for anti-cancer treatment win Kaye Award for Hebrew University student
9. Risks outweigh benefits of shark cartilage as anti-cancer treatment
10. New method of administering anti-cancer drug may be more effective, safer
11. Innovative study finds way to bio-synthesize an anti-cancer compound

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile ... a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise ... use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and the ... published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six children, ... in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier pilot, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, Dr. ... Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to suffer ... Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people with ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... WAUSAU, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... formulated standard products to meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities ... team of probiotic experts and tested to meet the highest standard. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will ... during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual ... F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... 25, 2017   Montrium , an industry ... today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection ... that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF ... TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research ... increase transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 22, 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort ... Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ... medical device industry is in an odd place.  The ... 2.3% excise tax on medical device sales passed along ... covered patients, increased visits and hospital customers with the ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... 2017   ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in ... it has been ranked #1 by its users for the ... 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end ... medical centers over 200 beds and holds one of the ... survey history. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
Cached News: