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Integr Cancer Ther. 2017 Dec;16(4):605-611. doi: 10.1177/1534735416664174. Epub 2016 Aug 16.

Cancer Chemopreventive Effects of Boswellia sacra Gum Resin Hydrodistillates on Invasive Urothelial Cell Carcinoma: Report of a Case.

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1 Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.
2 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
3 Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
4 Highland Consulting and Research, American Fork, UT, USA.
5 AYUB Laboratories, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.


A 52-year-old Hispanic male presented with hematuria and was later diagnosed with a large invasive high-grade urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) of the urinary bladder, but with ambiguous pT1/pT2 staging regarding musclaris propria invasion by UCC. The conventional treatment including radical cystoprostatectomy followed by neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy was presented. The patient decided to delay the standard therapy until a later stage, but elected to go through transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) without Bacillus Calmette-Guérin instillation. Following TURBT, the patient started oral Boswellia sacra gum resin (aka frankincense or Ru Xiang in Chinese) hydrodistillates (BSGRH) administration at 3 mL daily with lifestyle changes, and continued this regimen in the last 25 months. Within the first year after diagnosis, the patient experienced 2 recurrences. Recurrent tumors were removed by TURBT alone and both tumors were far smaller than the original one. After the second recurrence, the patient has no detectible cancer in the bladder based on cystoscopy for 14 months and has an intact genitourinary system. His liver and kidney functions are considered to be normal based on blood chemistry tests. This index case suggests that BSGRH may have cancer chemopreventive effects on UCC. The use of Boswellia-derived products in the management of cancer has been well document in other published studies, and boswellic acids have been suggested to be the major component. However, BSGRH contains very little boswellic acids. Demonstration of cancer chemoprevention using BSGRH is one step forward in isolating the key components other than boswellic acids in frankincense. The critical question as to whether these components can simultaneously activate multiple pathways in cancer cells to execute cancer suppression/cytotoxicity or prevention effects remains to be addressed. More studies including identification of key molecules, pharmacokinetics of major compounds, as well as long-term benefits and possible adverse effects will be needed to meet the guidelines of the US Food and Drug Administration for botanical drug development.


Boswellia sacra gum resin; Ru Xiang; frankincense; hydrodistillate; urinary bladder cancer; urothelial cell carcinoma

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