High-dose Vitamin C Versus Placebo in the Treatment of Patients With Advanced Cancer Who Have Had No Prior Chemotherapy. A Randomized Double-Blind Comparison

N Engl J Med. 1985 Jan 17;312(3):137-41. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198501173120301.

Abstract

It has been claimed that high-dose vitamin C is beneficial in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer, especially patients who have had no prior chemotherapy. In a double-blind study 100 patients with advanced colorectal cancer were randomly assigned to treatment with either high-dose vitamin C (10 g daily) or placebo. Overall, these patients were in very good general condition, with minimal symptoms. None had received any previous treatment with cytotoxic drugs. Vitamin C therapy showed no advantage over placebo therapy with regard to either the interval between the beginning of treatment and disease progression or patient survival. Among patients with measurable disease, none had objective improvement. On the basis of this and our previous randomized study, it can be concluded that high-dose vitamin C therapy is not effective against advanced malignant disease regardless of whether the patient has had any prior chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Rectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality

Substances

  • Ascorbic Acid