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Antineoplaston therapy

Antineoplaston therapy is a type of alternative treatment. There is not enough reliable evidence that it can help to treat cancer.

Summary

  • Antineoplastons are found in urine and blood.
  • There is not enough reliable evidence to use it as a cancer treatment.
  • Antineoplaston therapy has side effects.

What are antineoplastons?

Antineoplastons are chemical compounds found normally in blood and urine. They are made up of amino acids and peptides. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Peptides are made up of two or more amino acids.

Why people with cancer use it

Dr Burzynski developed antineoplaston therapy in the 1970s. He believes that: 

  • antineoplastons are part of the body’s natural defence
  • it can protect against cancer
  • 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.

Dr Burzynski’s clinic has studied different types of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America has not approved antineoplaston therapy as a treatment for cancer or any other disease.

There is not enough scientific evidence on antineoplaston therapy. So, researchers can’t say it works as an alternative cancer therapy.

How you have it

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

Side effects

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

  • low numbers of red blood cells (anaemia)
  • abnormal calcium levels in the blood
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular heart beat
  • dizzines
  • loss of apetite
  • wind
  • tiredness
  • numbness
  • swelling, pain or stiffness in the joints
  • headaches
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling sleepy
  • skin rashes
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • fits (seizures)
  • swelling near the brain

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

Research into antineoplaston therapy as a cancer treatment

The only clinic that has reported positive results, is Dr Burzynski's clinic. These were case reports, and phase I or II clinical trials. Other researchers could not get the same results. So, they couldn’t show that this type of treatment helps to treat cancer.

Early phase trials test what dose of treatment people should have. It also finds out how safe the treatment is; and how well it works. Early trials only give the treatment to small numbers of people.

None of the studies at Dr Burzynski's clinic were randomised controlled studies.Randomised  studies mean that there are at least two different groups in the trial. The researchers put people taking part into one or another group at random. A computer usually does the 'randomisation'.

Other researchers have criticised the Burzynski Clinic trials. Researchers feel the clinic has been researching this type of treatment for many years. But they have not done or reported any phase 3 trials. It is unusual for a clinical trial to last more than a few years. A randomised clinical trial is the only way to properly test whether any new drug or therapy works.

How much it costs

Be cautious about believing information or paying for alternative cancer therapy on the internet.

A word of caution

It is understandable that you might want to try anything if you think it might help treat or cure your cancer. Only you can decide whether to use an alternative cancer therapy such as antineoplaston therapy.

You could harm your health if you stop your cancer treatment for an unproven treatment.

Many websites might promote antineoplaston therapy as a cure for cancer. But no reputable scientific cancer organisations support any of these claims.

Last reviewed: 
20 Nov 2018
  • 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

  • Antineoplastons
    National Cancer Institute

    Accessed November 2018

  • 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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