Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate under praxis conditions the safety and efficacy of intravenous (i.v.) vitamin C administration in the first postoperative year of women with breast cancer.
Patients and methods: Epidemiological multicentre cohort study, including 15 gynaecologists and general practitioners representatively distributed in Germany. Data from 125 breast cancer patients in UICC stages IIa to IIIb were selected for the study. A total of 53 of these patients were treated with i.v. vitamin C (supplied as Pascorbin® 7.5 g) additional to standard tumour therapy for at least 4 weeks (study group) and 72 without this additional therapy (control group). Main outcome measures were efficacy in regard to outcome and severity of disease- or therapy-induced complaints during adjuvant chemo- and radiotherapy and aftercare.
Results: Comparison of control and study groups revealed that i.v. vitamin C administration resulted in a significant reduction of complaints induced by the disease and chemo-/radiotherapy, in particular of nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, dizziness and haemorrhagic diathesis. After adjustment for age and baseline conditions (intensity score before adjuvant therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy), the overall intensity score of symptoms during adjuvant therapy and aftercare was nearly twice as high in the control group compared to the study group. No side-effects of the i.v. vitamin C administration were documented.
Discussion: Oxidative stress and vitamin C deficiency play an important role in the etiology of adverse effects of guideline-based adjuvant chemo-/radiotherapy. Restoring antioxidative capacity by complementary i.v. vitamin C administration helps to prevent or reduce disease-, or therapy-induced complaints in breast cancer patients.
Conclusion: Complementary treatment of breast cancer patients with i.v. vitamin C was shown to be a well tolerated optimization of standard tumour-destructive therapies, reducing quality of life-related side-effects.