Alternative cancer cures: "unproven" or "disproven"?

CA Cancer J Clin. Mar-Apr 2004;54(2):110-8. doi: 10.3322/canjclin.54.2.110.


Oncology has always coexisted with therapies offered outside of conventional cancer treatment centers and based on theories not found in biomedicine. These alternative cancer cures have often been described as "unproven," suggesting that appropriate clinical trials have not been conducted and that the therapeutic value of the treatment is unknown. Contrary to much popular and scientific writing, many alternative cancer treatments have been investigated in good quality clinical trials, and they have been shown to be ineffective. In this article, clinical trial data on a number of alternative cancer cures including Livingston-Wheeler, Di Bella Multitherapy, antineoplastons, vitamin C, hydrazine sulfate, Laetrile, and psychotherapy are reviewed. The label "unproven" is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been "disproven."

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome