Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) and cancer

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) and cancer

 Modified Citrus Pectin, or MCP, or fractionated pectin would appear to have anticancer, anti-metastases, strong immune boosting and heavy metal detoxification properties; it blocks an important pro-cancer compound Galectin-3 (Gal-3) and has been shown to help chemotherapy and radiotherapy work better.

Natural Pectin

Natural pectin is a soluble fibre, a polysaccharide, which is poorly absorbed by our small intestine because the body cannot break it down easily into its constituent molecules. Our small intestine is the first part of our intestines after the stomach and is where our bodies absorb the bulk of our nourishment. 

Typically, pectin is found in the cell wall of plants, vegetables and fruits - like apples, carrots and in the peel of citrus fruit and plums. We commonly observe it as the pulp left behind when we juice our fruit. 

However, while pectin may not be easily absorbed by our small intestine, it is fermented by the bacteria in our colon to produce three very important short chain fatty acids - Butyrate, Propionate and Acetate - 'supermolecules' that can control our metabolism in various ways. For example, consuming soluble fibre lowers LDL (bad fat) levels, reducing heart attack risk. Research is gaining momentum and other studies have shown that MCP has anti-aging benefits and reduces the risk of myocarditis, for example.

One study with rats given pectins, showed a clear reduction in blood glucose and triglyceride levels plus an increase in Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium levels.

MCP reduces cancer growth and cancer spread

In order to make the pectin fibre absorbable, the long pectin molecules are broken (modified) into smaller carbohydrate molecules, each of which remains a polysaccharide. Polysaccharides are known to be important in cellular communication and in boosting the immune system. Pectin derived products have been shown to restrict metastases and promote apoptosis (10).

The American Cancer Society states that ’Several animal studies found that MCP helped reduce the spread of prostate, breast, and melanoma skin cancer. Animals with these types of cancer that were fed MCP had a much lower risk of the tumor spreading to the lungs’. Research findings showed that MCP was effective against metastatic cancer, with notable effectiveness against solid tumors such as melanoma as well as cancers located in the prostate, colon and breast. Furthermore, MCP has exhibited the ability to suppress angiogenesis and metastasis of different forms of cancer during animal testing, thereby restraining the growth of the cancer itself.

MCP can enhance the anti-cancer action of other natural compounds. In a 2012 study (1) a compound including MCP, extracted from medicinal mushrooms, herbs such as astragalus, curcumin and Scutellaria plus I3C/DIM and quercetin, was shown to cut the progression of Triple Negative Breast Cancer to the lungs by two thirds.

Another study (2) suggested that MCP made it difficult for metastatic cancer cells to join together and grow in other parts of the body. In a small human study with prostate cancer, those taking MCP showed slower growth of PSA levels.

MCP has also be shown to: 

     - inhibit prostate cancer metastases (3)

     - metastases to the liver in cases of colorectal cancer (4)

     - significantly inhibit colon cancer metastases (5)

All of these were animal studies.

Importantly, in a 2022 review of pectins and MCP, research shows activity not just against breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, but also liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer and myeloma and leukemia (11)

Modified Citrus Pectin blocks cancer-promoter Galectin-3

Other studies have shown how MCP might work: Published research shows that modified citrus pectin is a galectin-3 inhibitor: It contains high levels of β-galactose which has been proven to bind to galectin-3, block cancer cell aggregation, prevent angiogenesis and reduce metastasis. 

Galectin-3, or Gal-3, is a carbohydrate-binding protein made in the body and is a crucial disease contributor in a variety of inflammatory conditions. It is also a key cancer marker. It has been extensively researched for its role in promoting cancer and chronic disease. Gal-3 is known to be involved in cancer cell development and division. Gal-3 has an anti-apoptotic effect, even blocking drugs and causing chemo-resistance. But, for example, in Multiple Myeloma, MCP can block the blocker, and reduce chemoresistance to Velcade.

Not surprisingly Gal-3 has become a therapeutic target in drug development. Galectin-3 fuels chronic inflammation and cancer progression in the body. Gal-3 also aids tumour growth, metastasis and angiogenesis (new blood vessels that supply the tumour). 

Importantly, there’s a direct relationship between elevated galectin-3 levels and poor outcomes for cancer patients. Galectin-3 is known, for example, to be involved in prostate cancer spread. 

A brand of modified citrus pectin, called PectaSol-C, was shown in preliminary clinical trials to block prostate cancer spread by inhibiting Galectin-3 (8)

MCP - the Immune booster 

In a 2011 study, MCP was shown to be a potent immune system booster. It had a powerful effect boosting B-lymphocytes, and also the cytoxic effects of T-lymphocytes and Natural Killer (NK) cells against cancer. MCP actually produced a dramatic 10-fold increase in NK cell activity (7).

MCP - Heavy metal detoxifier

Other research studies show how MCP eliminates heavy metals, like mercury and lead, from the body. There are five studies of MCP in humans (where it is used alone or with green algae) showing its ability to greatly reduce the level of heavy metals in the body. For example, one study (6) showed it encouraged the excretion of heavy metals like chromium, lead and arsenic from the body.

MCP Enhances Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy

MCP is an important component of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM). It has been shown to enhance chemotherapy (even against resistant cancers) while protecting healthy cells from damage by radiotherapy. 

A number of scientific studies show that MCP can work synergistically with certain chemotherapy agents such as doxorubicin and paclitaxel

Data shows the ability of a specific form of MCP to increase the effectiveness of these drugs against aggressive cancers, possibly allowing for lower dosages with greater clinical benefits. For example: 

                  * MCP can enhance doxorubicin activity against aggressive prostate cancer cells.

                  * MCP can enhanced the effects of paclitaxel against aggressive ovarian cancer cells.

Both were shown to act by blocking galectin-3.

A 2015 study by Tel Aviv Medical Centre Scientists showed that oral MCP supplementation could enhance the anti-metastatic and anti-cancer effects of radiotherapy in the treatment of Androgen-Independent prostate cancer (9).

American Complementary and Integrative Medicine experts recommend different levels of consumption - one suggests 5 grams, 3 times a day on an empty stomach for use with cancer patients and after cancer surgery and biopsies; another suggests just 6 grams a day. There is no research on this with humans. 

How to take Modified Citrus Pectin 

MCP can be taken in pill form or as a powder. Both should be taken on an empty stomach, at least two hours after the last meal and before the next. Taken in large quantities it may cause bloating, wind, gut pain, diarrhoea, or constipation. 

Other natural compounds that reduce cancer spread?

MCP is not alone in the botanical field in weakening cancer and inhibiting cancer spread. IP-6 from bran, and beta-glucan from Medicinal mushrooms and mothers milk have strong benefits. Quercetin is another. A 2023 review shows quercetin has multiple (and epigenetic effects) against cancer spread (12). 

You might also look at the TCM compound, honokiol, which has been extensively studied in preclinical cell and animal models and shown to fight cancer through numerous mechanisms of action. Honokiol is derived from Magnolia officinalis bark, and is highly regarded for its anti-tumour, anti-angiogenic and antioxidant effects. It has also been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the benefits of some chemotherapies and natural agents’. MCP can be used with Honokiol.

Non-conventional drugs that reduce spread

There are also off-label drugs that help - such as antihistamines Cimetidine and Loratadine - and NSAIDs - such as Aspirin, Celebrex and indomethacin.

Go to: Antihistamines and cancer

Go to: Aspirin and cancer

Go to: Indomethacin and ovarian cancer

’If you are already thinking of buying MCP you might like to see what Natural Selection has to offer. You can do that by CLICKING HERE



1: Oncol Rep. 2012 Oct;28(4):1139-45. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1936. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Jiang J1, Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Loganathan J, Eliaz I, Terry C, Sandusky GE, Sliva D.

2: Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2003;6(4):301-4.

3: J Nat Cancer Inst. 1995 Mar 1;87(5):348-53

4: World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Dec 28;14(48):7386-91

5: Altern Med Rev. 2000 Dec;5(6):546-52

6: Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Sep 4;591(1-3):7-12

7:  BMC Complem. Altern. Med.2011, 11:59. Ramachandran, C., Wilk, B.J., Hotchkiss, A., Chau, H., Eliaz, I., Melnick, S.J.

8 : 


10. Apoptosis and Autophagy Induction as Mechanism of Cancer Prevention by Naturally Occurring Dietary Agents; Mukhtar E.,et al; Curr. Drug Targets. 2012;13:1831–1841.

11. Pectin: A Bioactive Food Polysaccharide with Cancer Preventive Potential;  Talha Bin Emran et al; Molecules. 2022 Nov; 27(21): 7405.

Published online 2022 Oct 31

12. A Comprehensive Study on the Anti-cancer Effects of Quercetin and Its Epigenetic Modifications in Arresting Progression of Colon Cancer Cell Proliferation; Meenu Bhatiya et al; Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2023; 71(1): 6. Published online 2023 Feb 20.




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