Background: Cytokines play an important role in tumor angiogenesis and inflammation. There is evidence in the literature that high doses of ascorbate can reduce inflammatory cytokine levels in cancer patients. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of treatment by intravenous vitamin C (IVC) on cytokines and tumor markers.
Material/methods: With the availability of protein array kits allowing assessment of many cytokines in a single sample, we measured 174 cytokines and additional 54 proteins and tumor markers in 12 cancer patients before and after a series of IVC treatments.
Results: Presented results show for our 12 patients the effect of treatment resulted in normalization of many cytokine levels. Cytokines that were most consistently elevated prior to treatments included M-CSF-R, Leptin, EGF, FGF-6, TNF-α, β, TARC, MCP-1,4, MIP, IL-4, 10, IL-4, and TGF-β. Cytokine levels tended to decrease during the course of treatment. These include mitogens (EGF, Fit-3 ligand, HGF, IGF-1, IL-21R) and chemo-attractants (CTAC, Eotaxin, E-selectin, Lymphotactin, MIP-1, MCP-1, TARC, SDF-1), as well as inflammation and angiogenesis factors (FGF-6, IL-1β, TGF-1).
Conclusions: We are able to show that average z-scores for several inflammatory and angiogenesis promoting cytokines are positive, indicating that they are higher than averages for healthy controls, and that their levels decreased over the course of treatment. In addition, serum concentrations of tumor markers decreased during the time period of IVC treatment and there were reductions in cMyc and Ras, 2 proteins implicated in being upregulated in cancer.