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Evidence-based complementary treatment of pancreatic cancer: a review of adjunct therapies including paricalcitol, hydroxychloroquine, intravenous vitamin C, statins, metformin, curcumin, and aspirin

Authors Bigelsen S

Received 7 January 2018

Accepted for publication 30 April 2018

Published 13 July 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 2003—2018

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S161824

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Stephen Bigelsen

Department of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA

Abstract: Despite new and exciting research and renewed optimism about future therapy, current statistics of survival from pancreatic cancer remains dismal. Patients seeking alternative or complementary treatments should be warned to avoid the hype and instead look to real science. A variety of relatively safe and inexpensive treatment options that have shown success in preclinical models and/or retrospective studies are currently available. Patients require their physicians to provide therapeutic guidance and assistance in obtaining and administrating these various therapies. Paricalcitol, an analog of vitamin D, has been shown by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies to break though the protective stroma surrounding tumor cells. Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to inhibit autophagy, a process by which dying cells recycle injured organelles and internal toxins to generate needed energy for survival and reproduction. Intravenous vitamin C creates a toxic accumulation of hydrogen peroxide within cancer cells, hastening their death. Metformin inhibits mitochondrial oxidative metabolism utilized by cancer stem cells. Statins inhibit not only cholesterol but also other factors in the same pathway that affect cancer cell growth, protein synthesis, and cell cycle progression. A novel formulation of curcumin may prevent resistance to chemotherapy and inhibit pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. Aspirin therapy has been shown to prevent pancreatic cancer and may be useful to prevent recurrence. These therapies are all currently available and are reviewed in this paper with emphasis on the most recent laboratory research and clinical studies.

Keywords: vitamin D, autophagy, stroma, T cells, integrative medicine, supplements, stellate cell

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