Palliative Vitamin C Application in Patients with Radiotherapy-Resistant Bone Metastases: A Retrospective Study

Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(6):921-5. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.1055366. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


The aim of this study was to observe effects of ascorbic acid application on pain, performance status, and survival time in cancer patients. A retrospective cohort of 39 patients with bone metastases treated with radiotherapy was identified. All patients were radiotherapy-resistant. Fifteen patients who received chemotherapy, and 15 patients who received an infusion of 2.5 g ascorbic acid were included in the study. Nine control patients were treated with neither chemotherapy nor vitamin C. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status Scale and Visual Analog Scale were used to determine performance status and pain assessments. Survival time and rate in patients were defined. Statistical analyses were performed to compare the results of groups. Performance status was increased in 4 patients of vitamin C group and 1 patient of chemotherapy group, whereas performance status in control group was decreased. A median reduction of 50% in pain was observed among the patients in the vitamin C group. Median survival time was 10 mo in patients receiving ascorbic acid, whereas the chemotherapy and control groups had a median survival of 2 mo. Intravenous vitamin C application seems to reduce pain in patients in comparison to other patients who did not receive it. Patient performance status and survival rate were increased using vitamin C.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Radiotherapy / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Ascorbic Acid