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Intravenous Ascorbate Shrinks Tumors in Mice

Study suggests that pharmacologic ascorbate could be used with other therapies in humans

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In mice, intravenous ascorbate significantly decreases the growth of aggressive tumors, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Qi Chen, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues first demonstrated that pharmacologic concentrations of ascorbate act as a pro-oxidant in vitro by generating hydrogen peroxide that's lethal to cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Then they tested the effects of daily intravenous ascorbate in vivo in mice with pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, or glioblastoma.

The researchers found that pharmacologic concentrations of ascorbate decreased tumor volumes by 41 percent to 53 percent.

"These preclinical data provide a firm basis for advancing pharmacologic ascorbate in cancer treatment to humans. The tumor xenograft results are especially noteworthy because ascorbate, considered a nutrient, was used here only as a single-agent drug," the authors write. "As modalities in cancer are often combined, these data suggest that pharmacologic ascorbate in combination with other therapies deserves further exploration for treatment of cancers that otherwise have poor outcomes, such as pancreatic and ovarian carcinomas and glioblastoma."

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