Tags: grapefruit | juice | cancer | weapon

Grapefruit Juice Boosts Anti-cancer Drug

Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:59 AM

Grapefruit juice has been found to be an unlikely weapon in the war on cancer. New research by the University of Chicago shows a glass a day of grapefruit juice allows patients to get the same benefits from a potent anti-cancer drug as they would derive from taking three times as much of the medicine by itself.
The findings, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, indicate combining anti-cancer drugs with grapefruit juice could help patients avoid the negative side effects associated with high doses of some chemotherapy agents and also reduce treatment costs.
"Grapefruit juice, and drugs with a similar mechanism, can significantly increase blood levels of many drugs," said lead researcher Dr. Ezra Cohen, a University of Chicago cancer specialist, "but this has long been considered an overdose hazard. Instead, we wanted to see if grapefruit juice can be used in a controlled fashion to increase the availability and efficacy of [medications]."
SPECIAL: This Small Group of Doctors are Quietly Curing Cancer — Read More.
Grapefruit juice's beneficial properties are tied to its ability to inhibit enzymes in the intestine that break down certain drugs. To determine the juice’s potential for boosting cancer treatment, Cohen and colleagues studied 138 patients with incurable cancer who were being treated with the drugs sirolimus and ketoconazole.
Patients were divided into three groups: one received only sirolimus; one was treated with sirolimus plus ketoconazole; and a third was given sirolimus and grapefruit juice.
According to the results, patients who drank grapefruit juice increased their sirolimus levels by 350 percent. Those also taking ketoconazole increased sirolimus levels by 500 percent.
Researchers noted the optimal cancer-fighting dose for sirolimus is about 90 milligrams per week. But at doses above 45 mg, it causes serious gastrointestinal problems. Patients taking sirolimus plus ketoconazole needed only 16 mg per week to maintain the same levels of the drug in their blood. Those taking sirolimus plus grapefruit juice, needed less than 35 mg of sirolimus per week.
"This is the first cancer study to harness this drug-food interaction," the researchers noted.
This study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
SPECIAL: This Small Group of Doctors are Quietly Curing Cancer — Read More.

© HealthDay

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The citrus drink has been found to be an unlikely new weapon in the war on cancer.
Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:59 AM
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