Tumor regression with a combination of drugs interfering with the tumor metabolism: efficacy of hydroxycitrate, lipoic acid and capsaicin

Invest New Drugs. 2013 Apr;31(2):256-64. doi: 10.1007/s10637-012-9849-z. Epub 2012 Jul 14.


Cellular metabolic alterations are now well described as implicated in cancer and some strategies are currently developed to target these different pathways. In previous papers, we demonstrated that a combination of molecules (namely alpha-lipoic acid and hydroxycitrate, i.e. Metabloc™) targeting the cancer metabolism markedly decreased tumor cell growth in mice. In this work, we demonstrate that the addition of capsaicin further delays tumor growth in mice in a dose dependant manner. This is true for the three animal model tested: lung (LLC) cancer, bladder cancer (MBT-2) and melanoma B16F10. There was no apparent side effect of this ternary combination. The addition of a fourth drug (octreotide) is even more effective resulting in tumor regression in mice bearing LLC cancer. These four compounds are all known to target the cellular metabolism not its DNA. The efficacy, the apparent lack of toxicity, the long clinical track records of these medications in human medicine, all points toward the need for a clinical trial. The dramatic efficacy of treatment suggests that cancer may simply be a disease of dysregulated cellular metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lewis Lung / pathology
  • Citrates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / metabolism
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sensory System Agents / therapeutic use
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antioxidants
  • Citrates
  • Sensory System Agents
  • Thioctic Acid
  • hydroxycitric acid
  • Capsaicin