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Preliminary Case Series of Artemisinin for Prostate Cancer in a Naturopathic Practice

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Objective: To determine if oral artemisinin is safe and has a short-term effect on prostate specific antigen (PSA) kinetics in patients with prostate cancer (CaP).

Design: Retrospective case series.

Setting: A private naturopathic urology clinic in Seattle, WA.

Patients: All artemisinin-treated CaP patients were identified retrospectively between 2005 and 2008. A total of 15 patients were identified who had taken artemisinin and included in the study, comprising 5 patients who had previously undergone radical prostatectomy (RP) and were having biochemical recurrences as well as 10 patients with no prior conventional therapy for CaP.

Interventions: High-dose, pulsed oral artemisinin 300‐400 mg three times a day every other week for 3‐24 months (median 9.5 months, IQR 5‐12 months). All patients were treated with an array of other naturopathic therapies.

Outcome measures: The primary outcomes were the PSA doubling time and velocity; secondary outcome measures were signs and symptoms of metastasis and survival.

Results: Of those patients who have previously undergone RP, 2/5 (40%) had improved PSA kinetics after artemisinin therapy. Of those with no prior RP, 5/10 (50%) had improved PSA kinetics. No patient developed signs of metastasis and no patients died. There were no reported adverse effects.

Conclusions: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that high-dose, pulsed oral artemisinin therapy may have activity in patients with CaP. A larger controlled trial is warranted to confirm these preliminary beneficial effects.
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Keywords: Artemisinin; Naturopathic medicine; PSA doubling time; PSA velocity; Prostate cancer

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • JRM is a peer-reviewed medical journal published annually by AARM. It publishes original research, reviews, and editorials that contribute to the understanding of nutritional and botanical influence on underlying mechanisms of chronic illness. The journal was established by MichaĆ«l Friedman, ND as the founding editor. The journal's current editor-in-chief is Liz Sutherland, ND of National University of Natural Medicine.
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