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.
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.
In trials, antineoplastons have been found to cause some side effects, including:
- low numbers of red blood cells (anaemia)
- 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.