Canadian Cancer Society perspective on antineoplastons

07 December 2016

The Canadian Cancer Society sometimes receives inquiries about antineoplastons and their potential as a cure for some cancers, as well as questions about the research of Dr Stanislaw Burzynski.

Antineoplaston therapy involves using a group of compounds called antineoplastons to control the growth of cancer cells. Antineoplastons are made up mostly of peptides and amino acids isolated from human blood and urine, although they are now generally manufactured in a lab.

Supporters of this therapy claim that antineoplastons affect the growth of cancer cells, and that people with cancer do not have enough naturally occurring antineoplastons. Antineoplaston therapy is meant to replenish the body’s supply of the compounds.

Our perspective

The Canadian Cancer Society is concerned about Canadians seeking treatment with antineoplastons because we don’t know enough about its benefits and side effects. In the absence of adequate and extensive clinical evidence, the Society does not advise cancer patients to use antineoplaston therapy.

Background

There is no conclusive scientific evidence published to date indicating that antineoplaston therapy is effective in treating cancer in humans. As well, antineoplaston is not an approved cancer treatment in Canada, the United States or anywhere in the world.

At this time, the only way a patient can have antineoplaston therapy is through clinical trials investigating the possible use of it as a cancer treatment.

Dr Stanislaw Burzynski developed antineoplaston therapy and believes these compounds provide natural protection against cancer. Since the 1980s, several health organizations, researchers and government health agencies (including the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) have evaluated Dr Burzynski’s research. The general consensus from these organizations is that the research results did not provide enough valid information to determine whether antineoplastons were of any benefit to cancer patients.

Although some promising results of the use of antineoplaston therapy have been reported in small studies, most of these have been directed by Dr Burzynski. The results have not been consistently duplicated in other cancer centres.

No phase 3 clinical trial has ever been conducted on antineoplaston therapy. Phase 3 trials are necessary in proving the effectiveness of a new drug or treatment. Learn more about the phases of cancer drug and treatment testing.

Current research on antineoplaston therapy is ongoing, primarily conducted by Dr Burzynski, both at the Burzynski Clinic and the Burzynski Research Institute in Texas, United States. There is little information about current research on the website of either of these 2 centres.

Learn more about antineoplaston therapy at the National Cancer Institute website.