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Mistletoe increases cancer survival


Research Suggests Increased Cancer Survival Times

Mistletoe is used as a complementary cancer treatment particularly in Germany. Extracts, such as Iscador, Isorel and Plenosol are sold under brand names and there is research that suggests increased cancer survival times with their use particularly as an adjunct to orthodox treatments. 2011research in Cancer Watch suggested that mistletoe can also help protect the liver and help clear toxins from the body in chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Improved survival times, lowered side-effects

Research in 2009 by the German Institute of Immunology and Experimental Oncology has shown (yet again) that mistletoe extract injected into the body can improve cancer survival times. This research examined its use alongside both chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

The researchers concluded that it improved the success of chemotherapy, and also helped clear away the toxic debris (how quaint!) caused by the chemotherapy.

The scientists showed that bowel cancer patients having the mistletoe injections, had fewer side effects from both chemotherapy and radiotherapy (falling from 48 per cent to 19 per cent) and survived longer - being a third more likely to survive 5 years!

This is hardly an insignificant finding.

The National Cancer Institute in America states that many animal and laboratory studies have been done with mistletoe. Human studies tend to be in German as most of the studies have been done in Germany. The NCI talk about IscadorQ having a strong anti-cancer effect with certain cancers but not others. The NCI also talk of Clinical Trials using Mistletoe as an adjuvant therapy, reducing side-effects of chemo and radiotherapy They refer to the colon cancer study above and also to a Phase I Clinical Trial for the US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine using Helixor A with gemcitabine and showing results of lowered toxicity and imrproved anti-cancer benefits in half the patients. 

What is Mistletoe?

Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that has been used for centuries in Europe to treat many human illnesses. Although the berries and the plant itself are poisonous, a whole variety of extracts has been prepared and these seem to avoid the toxicity and side effects.

The extracts are manufactured and marketed as injectable prescription drugs under a variety of names including Iscador, Isorel, Isucucin, Helixor, Plenosol and Eurixor. Some extracts are, in fact marketed under more than one name. Iscador, Isorel and Plenosol are sold as Iscar, Vysorel and Lektinol respectively. The chemical composition of the extract also depends on the host tree, and extract variants are prepared by tree type.

The extracts can be in aqueous solution or in solutions of water and alcohol. They may also be fermented.

The FDA has not yet approved mistletoe extracts and regards them as homeopathic drugs.

What is very clear is that results depend on the type of cancer, the dose of mistletoe used, and the type of mistletoe product involved. Other factors such as chemotherapy drug may influence results.

Why The Interest?

Two components of mistletoe, lectins and viscotoxins, provide the probable active ingredients for the extracts, which have been shown to kill cancer cells in vitro, and to boost the immune system in vitro and in vivo.

Open quotesSome extracts are, in fact marketed under more than one nameClose quotes

Viscotoxins are small proteins that appear to kill certain cells by combining with their nucleic acids whilst also stimulating the immune system. Lectins are larger and more complex molecules made of carbohydrate and protein (galactosides). They appear to be able to bind to the surface of immune cells and stimulate activity, in common with all glycoproteins. Glycoproteins improve intercellular recognition systems, activating natural killer cells/T cells and other white cells to produce interleukin 1 and 6, and also tumour killing factors. One study reviewed lectins ability to release superoxide from certain white cells.

Does It Work?

There have been over 30 European Clinical Trials on mistletoe, none without a little bit of controversy. In 1994 a review of the trials found that there was insufficient evidence to recommend the use of mistletoe extracts in the treatment of cancer.

However a more recent study (Maticek; Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine May/June 2004) involving both randomised and non-randomised samples and 10,266 cancer patients changed all that.

A continuous recruitment of patients between 1973 and 1988 in Germany for the study based at the Institute for Preventative Medicine, United Nations, Heidelberg matched people treated with Iscador and those without with strict control of age, sex, tumour type, year of diagnosis, chemotherapy etc. A further follow up in 1998 reviewed survival times.

Open quotesThose who continued on a long term basis saw a 
                doubling of survival timeClose quotes

Both test groups showed an increased survival time of 39 per cent for those taking Iscador. Those who continued to use Iscador on a long term basis saw a doubling of survival time. By contrast, short usage times seem to provide little effect, possibly since stimulation of the immune system requires time.

Another study with patients having malignant melanoma is ongoing.


Iscador is given as subcutaneous injection 2-3 times per week. Side effect are relatively mild and include a slight irritation or reddening around the injection site. There may be a rise in patient temperature.

The use of Iscador with a variety of cancers has been studied; from breast to brain tumours; from pancreatic to bladder cancer, and we recommend interested parties to review the extensive research on mistletoe. The level of research and conclusions would surprise most UK oncologists.

The Raphael Medical Centre in the UK offer mistletoe therapy. CLICK HERE for details.

Rainbow diet          At last, the definitive, research-based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

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