Background: Homeopathy is a complementary medicine widely used around the world. Despite extensive use of homeopathy for cancer and other serious conditions with reported success, clinical and laboratory research has been equivocal, and no rigorous research has been done on cancer. In 1999, the US National Cancer Institute evaluated the effects of homeopathic treatment of cancer from a clinic in India and has released a request for protocols to conduct further research into this treatment. Therefore, the authors conducted a series of carefully controlled laboratory studies evaluating the effects of commonly used homeopathic remedies in cell and animal models of prostate cancer.
Study design: One hundred male Copenhagen rats were randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups after inoculation with prostate tumor cells.
Methods: Prostate tumor cells DU-145, LNCaP, and MAT-LyLu were exposed to 5 homeopathic remedies. Male Copenhagen rats were injected with MAT-LyLu cells and exposed to the same homeopathic remedies for 5 weeks. In vitro outcomes included tumor cell viability and apoptosis gene expression. In vivo outcomes included tumor incidence, volume, weight, total mortality, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression, apoptotic cell death (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated d-uridine triphosphate nick end labeling), and gene expression (rAPO-multiprobe).
Results: There were no effects on cell viability or gene expression in 3 prostate cell lines with any remedies at any exposure time. There was a 23% reduction in tumor incidence (P < .0001), and for animals with tumors, there was a 38% reduction in tumor volume in homeopathy-treated animals versus controls (P < .02). At time of killing, experimental animals with tumors had a 13% lower average tumor weight (P < .05). Tumors in these treated animals showed a 19% increase in apoptotic cell death (P < .05) and reduced PCNA-positive cells.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that selected homeopathic remedies for the present study have no direct cellular anticancer effects but appear to significantly slow the progression of cancer and reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Copenhagen rats injected with MAT-LyLu prostate cancer cells.