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Modified Citrus Pectin and Cancer: Research Update
James Meschino DC, MS, ROHP
Research indicates that in order for metastasis to occur, cancerous cells must first clump together; galectins on their surface are thought to be responsible for much of this metastatic potential. Galactose-rich, modified citrus pectin has a binding affinity for galectins on the surface of cancer cells, resulting in an inhibition, or blocking, of cancer cell aggregation, adhesion, and metastasis
In one human study, Strum et al examined the effect of MCP on prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time in seven prostate cancer patients. PSA is an enzymatic tumor marker, and its doubling time reflects the speed at which the cancer is growing. Modified citrus pectin was administered orally at a dosage of 15 grams per day in three divided doses. Four of seven patients exhibited more than 30-percent lengthening of PSA doubling time. Lengthening of the doubling time represents a decrease in the cancer growth rate.
A more recent human study examined galectin expression in 27 patients with invasive breast cancer. The study revealed that increasing histologic grades of breast cancer exhibited a decrease in galectin-3 expression, possibly resulting in increased cancer cell motility and metastasis
One of the better animal models for studying metastasis is the highly metastatic mouse B16-F1 melanoma. Using this system Platt and Raz determined that MCP significantly decreased tumor metastasis to the lung by more than 90 percent. In comparison, regular citrus pectin administration resulted in a significant increase (up to three-fold) in tumor metastases. The researchers concluded MCP’s interference in the metastatic process might lead to a reduced ability to form tumor cell aggregates and metastases.
Modified citrus pectin dosages are usually expressed in grams, with a typical adult dosage ranging between 6-30 grams daily in divided doses. This may be modified by the practitioner depending on the patient’s clinical status, type of cancer involved, and degree of metastasis. The MCP powder is usually dissolved by blending in a small amount of water, then diluting with a juice of choice.
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