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Acta Oncol. 1989;28(4):489-94.

Misteltoe (Iscador) therapy in stage IV renal adenocarcinoma. A phase II study in patients with measurable lung metastases.

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  • Department of Oncology II, Finsen Institute, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The public interest in alternative cancer therapy is considerable. Since the 1920s advocators of anthroposophical medicine have postulated a highly significant effect of misteltoe plant extracts on life quality and survival of patients with most solid tumours. Fourteen patients, 8 men and 6 women, median age 65, range 47-74 years, with earlier untreated histologically verified renal adenocarcinoma stage IV and clearly measurable lung metastases were treated with subcutaneous injections of Iscador every second day in escalating doses over 3 weeks followed by maintenance therapy, 20, 30, and 50 mg/ml on respective days. Patients were evaluated monthly and disease status classified according to WHO criteria. No response was demonstrated. 2/14 patients died without change of the disease (NC) after 30 and 60 days respectively. The median time to progressive disease (PD) was 108 days, range 33-348 days. First site of PD was lungs in 10/12, outside lungs in 2/12 patients. All patients have died. The median survival was 330 days, range 44-694, which in a retrospective comparison was quite similar to earlier phase 2 studies in the same type of patients. Apart from local reactions around the injection sites and moderate fever on the day of injection the treatment was well tolerated with no major toxicities. It is concluded that Iscador under the conditions chosen for the study had no objective or life prolonging effects postulated for most solid tumour types by advocators of anthrosophy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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