Vitamin C and cancer: examination of the Vale of Leven trial results using broad inductive reasoning

Med Hypotheses. 1982 Jan;8(1):49-84. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(82)90089-5.


Cameron and Pauling have reported large survival increases in terminal cancer patients treated with Vitamin C. Their trials, which have been criticised because not based on random, double-blind principles, are reviewed here using a broad inductive method that relies on diverse data of varying quality. Conclusions are offered both on the value of Vitamin C and on this broad method, as follows: There is a strong possibility that Vitamin C very approximately doubled survival time as measured from the start of Vitamin C treatment, regardless of whether this was after termination of conventional treatment or much earlier. A recent Mayo Clinic trial which concluded that Vitamin C is valueless in the terminal stage may be given an alternative interpretation which supports this view. Despite a speculative element because based only on the condensed, published data, these conclusions have sufficient possibility of validity as to call for full further investigation. The conclusions on method are that the broad, inductive approach may have potential value when the randomized method cannot be used; that it also may facilitate, to the public's benefit, the release of probably valuable, inexpensive, non-toxic treatments pending decisive proof; and a greater return on the research dollar might result from a formal acceptance of the probabilistic element in scientific proof.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Placebos
  • Prognosis


  • Placebos
  • Ascorbic Acid