Hopefully someone has seen the "handwriting on the wall" - I can't possibly describe how thrilled I am to see this in a professional publication!
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Mistletoe Extract May Be Alternative Bladder Cancer Therapy
Reuters Health Information 2005. © 2005 Reuters Ltd.
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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 29 - Extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album L.) appears to be as effective as bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) as adjuvant intravesical treatment of superficial bladder cancer, German researchers report in the July issue of the Journal of Urology.
Lead investigator Dr. Ursula Elsaesser-Beile told Reuters Health, "standardized mistletoe extract could be a potential adjuvant local therapy for treating patients with superficial bladder cancer successfully, without the typical side effects induced by other therapies."
Dr. Elsaesser-Beile of the University of Freiburg and colleagues note that BCG has been shown to decrease tumor recurrence significantly. However, serious side effects and even deaths have prompted a search for alternatives. So far, none has been equally effective.
Mistletoe extracts have been widely used for many years as alternative therapy in patients with malignancies, the team points out, and components of mistletoe have shown immunomodulating effects and action against tumor cells.
In a phase I/II trial, the researchers intravesically administered aqueous mistletoe extract standardized to mistletoe lectin to 30 patients with superficial urothelial bladder carcinoma. About 4 weeks after transurethral resection, patients received six weekly instillations of 50 mL of the extract, retained in the bladder for 2 hours. Lectin concentrations ranged from 10 to 5000 ng/mL.
At all concentrations the treatment was well tolerated and no patients had local or systemic side effects. At 12 months, there were nine recurrences. In the 24 patients with pTa G2 and pT1 G2 tumors, the recurrence rate was 33%, comparable to the recurrence rate in similar historical controls treated with BCG, the investigators point out.
The researchers call for further studies to define optimal dosage, but overall, concluded Dr. Elsaesser-Beile, the findings indicate "a new approach for a broad clinical application of mistletoe extract in urological oncology."
J Urol 2005;174:176-179.