Mistletoe is mostly known for its connection to Christmas as a decoration that compelled whoever stood underneath to kiss. However, many people are unaware that it has also become a very popular alternative cancer treatment. The most common extract called Iscador is made from fermenting various parts of the plant to create an anticancer mistletoe injection. This extract is either injected under the skin, into a vein, or directly into the tumor. Other brands of mistletoe extract also exist like Abnoba viscum, Helixor, Iscador Qu/M/P, Lektinol, Cefalektin, and Eurixor. Many cancer patients use this extract together with conventional treatments to improve outcomes. But questions still remain. Safety, side effects, and most importantly, is the popularity really justified?
Mistletoe Injection Alone.
A pancreatic study showed patients with advanced metastatic disease showed prolongation of overall survival vs control group. Overall survival was just about doubled in the Iscador injection group.
A case report of a 78 year old man showed complete regression of colon adenoma after Mistletoe Injection with out any adjunct chemotherapy.
Another case report of a 68 year old male patient with metastatic melanoma achieved a complete response to low dose Mistletoe Injection.
Mistletoe Injection With Chemo.
A breast cancer prospective study showed Mistletoe Injection (Iscador) had an effect on breast tumor progression based on overall survival. Study also showed extract had effect on recurrences and lymphatic or distant metastases.
A multi-center comparative study in Germany and Switzerland showed Iscador Injection group had less adverse drug reactions, reduced disease, and prolonged overall survival.
Pooled analysis of 49 publications showed Iscador injection was associated with better survival.
Two prospective controlled long term studies showed Iscador injection may have a positive effect on overall survival in both cervical and ovarian cancer patients. Studies also noted short term psychosomatic self-regulation is increased with Iscador injection therapy.
Mistletoe Injection given to advanced non-small cell cancer patients taking carboplatin based chemotherapy had decreased non-hematological side effects and hospitalizations similar to IP6 + Inositol. Quality of life and total adverse event improvements could not be seen.
Mistletoe Infusion For Surgery.
Phase 3 study shows Mistletoe extract prevents the suppression of NK cell activity in cancer patients after surgery. Mistletoe infusion groups NK cell activity decreased only 7.9% vs 44.4% in control group .
Cancer Related Fatigue.
Mistletoe medication Iscador Qu improved cancer related fatigue in colorectal patients with no added toxicity.
Iscador Injection Safety.
Most studies show Mistletoe extract to be very safe with very little side effects. Mild and moderate adverse drug reactions are experienced by about 10% of all patients. Serious adverse drug reactions are extremely rare. Adverse drug reactions are two times less likely to happen when intravenous vs subcutaneous applications are used.
Iscador M on Melanoma.
Phase 3 prospective trial EORTC study results show low dose treatment in high risk melanoma showed no clinical benefit vs control.
The scientific evidence shows that Mistletoe injection (Iscador) increases overall survival, minimizes chemotherapy side effects, and improves cancer related fatigue. This alternative treatment is usually added to conventional treatments to improve outcomes. Very rarely is it documented that mistletoe injection is used alone with great success. Even though most of the evidence is positive, this isn’t a cancer cure. Many people will like to over exaggerate the truth and make this treatment look better then it really is. Improving overall survival is not the same thing as a cancer cure. Studies available now point to this as being a treatment to improve other cancer therapies vs being itself a stand alone cancer treatment. Used properly, this treatment can be very helpful.
- Pancreatic Cancer Overall Survival Study.
- Colon Cancer Case Report.
- Melanoma Case Report.
- Prospective Breast Cancer Study.
- Germany And Switzerland Multi-center Study.
- 49 Publication Cancer Survival.
- Prospective Cervical Cancer Study.
- Ovarian Cancer Longer Term Study.
- Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Study.
- NK Cells Surgery Suppression Study.
- Cancer Related Fatigue Study.
- Extract Safety Study.
- Melanoma No clinical benefit Study.