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Cancer. 1999 Nov 15;86(10):2143-9.

Results from a historical survey of the survival of cancer patients given Di Bella multitherapy.

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Epidemiology Unit, Direzione Sanitaria Azienda USL Firenze, Florence, Italy.



The Italian media have given wide coverage to a number of successes in treating cancer patients with an alternative therapy developed by Dr. Luigi Di Bella, a physician in Modena, Italy. In 1998, the Ministry of Health, under considerable pressure from the public, decided to promote studies to evaluate its efficacy.


Follow-up was conducted for cancer patients previously treated during the years 1971-1997 by Dr. Di Bella and registered in his archive. Identified cases were searched in cancer registries for diagnostic confirmation, date of diagnosis, and follow-up. Survival was compared with that in individually matched cancer cases derived from a pool of Italian cancer registries (the ITACARE data base). Kaplan-Meier survival curves were produced for all adult cancer patients as well as for children with leukemia and, in the matched analysis, for patients with cancer at the major anatomic sites and for all cancer patients combined. The homogeneity of survival curves between the two groups was tested by means of the log rank test.


After several exclusions, 314 patients were entered into the study. Follow-up was completed for 79%. Only four patients received Di Bella Multitherapy (MDB) as their only anticancer therapy. Of these, only 1 is still alive 2 years after diagnosis. Five-year survival rates for children with leukemia and adult cancer patients were both 29.4%. Five-year survival was significantly lower in comparison with ITACARE cases for patients with childhood leukemia, breast carcinoma, and adult leukemia, and for all cancer patients combined. Twenty-seven MDB patients survived 10 years or longer after diagnosis. In only three cases was this long survival unexpected.


The results for this series did not give any evidence that MDB improved the survival of the cancer patients. [See editorial on pages 1887-9 and commentaries on pages 1900-2 and 1903-11 this issue.]

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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