Arizona Advanced Medicine Clinic

Metronomic Chemotherapy - Big Treatment in a Small Package

An article just published in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology caught my eye. The title: Prescription pillsPharmacokinetics of metronomic chemotherapy: a neglected but crucial aspect.

Georgia (not her real name) has recurrent breast cancer. She was diagnosed five years ago with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), and did agree to chemotherapy, but refused mastectomy.

By last year she became aware that the breast biopsy scar had never really healed, but was becoming more thickened and a little inflamed. She then had a lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy. Lymph nodes were positive, and the cancer had now begun to invade the breast, outside the ducts.

Nevertheless, tests of circulating tumor cells (CellSearch®) were negative.

She came to our office for thermography last year. The images were highly suggestive of breast cancer at the site of the previous biopsy. Surgery was recommended. The patient went to another healthcare practitioner, did chelation therapy to remove heavy metals, and a fair amount of nutritional/oxidizing therapies, but no further chemotherapy or surgery.

The patient presented once again to our office 6 months later for repeat thermographic evaluation. This time the area of inflammation (and presumed cancer) appeared to be enlarging and spreading.

So now we have a patient who had done what should have been adequate chemotherapy, then did chelation and nutritional therapy ongoing, and whose tumor is still spreading.

What are her options?

Surgery, radiation and conventional chemotherapy are always an option. Insurance covers these treatments. Oncologists and surgeons are well prepared to use these modalities to, as one of my patients said, “slash, burn and poison” the tumor. Chemotherapy is not very effective in the long run, but it is the accepted modality of treatment at the moment.

So our patient could always choose to have a mastectomy and radiation treatments to the chest and lymph nodes. And then she could choose to have standard chemotherapy for recurrent cancer, and hope that her immune system survived the treatment and that she didn’t get too sick from it.

Or she could choose an integrative approach to cancer treatment.

She has cancer. It is growing and spreading. She needs some form of therapy which will destroy tumor cells, while supporting and nourishing the rest of her body.

Low glycemic – low carbohydrate – food choices are her first option. Cancer cells have large numbers of insulin receptors on their surface, so that they can have first crack at any molecules of glucose (sugar) that the blood carries. Cancer cells require large amounts of glucose for their survival, much larger amounts than any other cells in the body.

What about cancer-specific treatment?Goldfish with shark fin

Metronomic chemotherapy – which can be used with pretty much any solid tumor – would be an excellent choice for this patient – even just to give her some more symptom-free time and decent quality of life.

Metronomic chemotherapy uses a very low dose of an old chemotherapeutic agent (cyclophosphamide, Cytoxan®) both to prevent the development of new blood vessels and to decrease the production of immune system regulatory T cells, thus exposing the tumor to recognition, attack and potential destruction by our own immune systems.

The dose is so low that there are virtually no side effects. The potential benefit is enormous.

Metronomic chemotherapy seems like a no-brainer to me for pretty much any solid tumor. It makes so much sense, has such good support in the literature, and has so few side-effects.

This form of therapy has been described in the literature since at least the early 1980s. And yet, it is considered “experimental” (forty years after its initial description) and most insurance companies not only require prior authorization for the (inexpensive) drugs used, but often refuse to pay.

Music noteMetronomic chemotherapy has practically no toxicity – as it is described in the literature – and remarkable effectiveness in prolonging life without major side effects.

If you can live with cancer and not experience illness, that seems to me to be the next best outcome of cancer treatment.

So why does insurance require lengthy preauthorization for such treatment? The cost is low – less than $250 per month cash price. The benefit is high. Chemotherapy drugs can cost in the thousands of dollars per month.

What was that definition of insanity? Keep on doing what you have always done, expecting that this time the results will be different?

Maybe it's time for a change...

For more information on metronomic chemotherapy, click here.

For a free 15-minute consultation with one of our doctors, please call us at 480-240-2600 to speak with our new patient coordinator and schedule a time.

For more information on other non-standard forms of chemotherapy, such as insulin potentiated low dose chemotherapy, click here.

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