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Antineoplaston therapy

Antineoplaston therapy is a type of alternative therapy. There is no scientific evidence that it can help to prevent or treat cancer.

What antineoplastons are

Antineoplastons are chemical compounds found normally in blood and urine. They are made up of amino acids and peptides.

What we know about antineoplastons

Some people promote antineoplaston therapy as a cancer treatment. But available scientific evidence doesn't support this.

Antineoplaston therapy was developed by Dr S R Burzynski in the 1970s. He believes that antineoplastons are part of the body’s natural defence mechanisms against cancer and that people with cancer don’t have enough of them. At first, he took these compounds out of urine and blood. It's now possible to make them in the laboratory.

There are several types of antineoplastons. They are known by the letter A followed by a number, for example A10, AS-25 and AS2-1.

You take antineoplastons as a tablet or have them as an injection into the bloodstream.

Trials

There have been a number of phase 1 and 2 trials in different types of cancer. These early phase trials test what dose of treatment people should have, how safe the treatment is and how well it works. Early trials only give the treatment to small numbers of people. Although Dr Burzynski’s own clinic has reported positive results for these trials, no other researchers have been able to show that this type of treatment helps to treat cancer.

Other researchers have criticised the way the Burzynski Clinic trials have been carried out. Despite researching this type of treatment for more than 35 years, no phase 3 trials have been carried out or reported. A randomised clinical trial is the only way to properly test whether any new drug or therapy works.

The American Cancer Society says that a year’s course of treatment at the Burzynski Clinic costs between US$30,000 and US$60,000.

Side effects

In trials, antineoplastons have been found to cause some side effects, including:

  • low numbers of red blood cells (anaemia)
  • wind
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling sleepy
  • skin rashes
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • fits (seizures)

Trials are ongoing in America at Dr S R Burzynski’s clinic. Other cancer centres are carrying out some laboratory research. But it will be some time before we know whether antineoplaston treatment works as a cancer treatment, what effects it has on the body, and how it interacts with other medicines.

More information about alternative and complementary therapies

Talk to your cancer specialist before taking any alternative cancer treatment, especially if you're having other treatments for your cancer.

The National Cancer Institute website in the USA has very detailed information about antineoplaston therapy and clinical trials.

Last reviewed: 
04 Feb 2013
  • Phase II study of antineoplastons A10 (NSC 648539) and AS2-1 (NSC 620261) in patients with recurrent glioma
    JC Buckner
    Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 1999 Feb;74(2): pages 137-45

  • Targeted therapy with antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 of high-grade, recurrent, and progressive brainstem glioma
    SR Burzynski
    Integrative Cancer Therapy, 2006 Mar;5(1): pages 40-7

  • The present state of antineoplaston research
    SR Burzynski
    Integrative Cancer Therapy,  2004 Mar;3(1): pages 47-58

  • Notice about Improper Promotional Claims
    Food and Drugs Agency, 2012

  • Information about Burzynski
    National Cancer Institute

  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. If you need additional references for this information please contact patientinformation@cancer.org.uk with details of the particular issue you are interested in.

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