Have Any Clinical Trials (Research Studies With People) of Antineoplastons Been Conducted?
To date, no phase III randomized, controlled trials of antineoplastons as a treatment for cancer have been conducted.
Many cancer patients have been treated with antineoplastons at Dr. Burzynski's clinic and studied there. A few trials and case studies have been done outside of the clinic. Some of the cancers studied include breast, bladder, cervical, prostate, liver, and lung cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors.
Published information includes results from phase I clinical trials, phase II clinical trials, and case reports. The following antineoplastons were studied in clinical trials:
- Antineoplaston A
- Antineoplaston A10
- Antineoplaston AS2-1
- Antineoplaston AS2-5
- Antineoplaston A2
- Antineoplaston A3
- Antineoplaston A5
Safety of Antineoplastons
Phase I trials are the first step in testing a new treatment in people. In these studies, researchers test to see what dose is safe, how the treatment should be given (such as by mouth or by injection), and how often it should be given.
In the phase I trials of antineoplastons, side effects were usually mild and did not last long.
The most severe harmful side effects occurred in a phase II trial. Phase II cancer trials study how a treatment works against certain types of cancer and how it affects the body. A phase II trial of antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 in brain tumor patients reported severe nervous system side effects including sleepiness, confusion, seizures, and swelling near the brain.
Effect of Antineoplastons on Brain Tumors, Prostate Cancer, and Liver Cancer
Studies have reported on the effect of antineoplastons in certain types of cancer:
- The effect of antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 on brain tumors was studied at Dr. Burzynski's clinic and at the Mayo Clinic. A brain tumor study done in Japan did not report the type of antineoplaston used.
- The effect of antineoplaston AS2-1 on prostate cancer was studied at Dr. Burzynski's clinic.
- The effect of antineoplaston A10 on liver cancer is discussed in a case report from Japan.
These studies reported mixed results, including some cancer remissions (signs and symptoms of cancer decreased or went away). Other investigators have not been able to obtain the same results reported by Dr. Burzynski and his team. Some of the patients in the reported studies received standard treatments in addition to the antineoplastons. In those cases, it is not known if responses and side effects were caused by antineoplaston therapy, the other treatments, or both. One additional independent report (a study from Japan) was completed but does not have the same findings as the Burzynski report.
Randomized controlled trials give the highest level of evidence. In these trials, volunteers are put randomly (by chance) into one of 2 or more groups that compare different treatments. One group (called the control group) does not receive the new treatment being studied. The control group is compared to the groups that receive the new treatment, to see if the new treatment works. No randomized, controlled trials showing the effectiveness of antineoplastons have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
In 1991, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reviewed some of Dr. Burzynski's cases and decided to conduct clinical trials on antineoplastons at cancer centers. By August 1995, only 9 patients had enrolled and the clinical trials were closed before being completed. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Dr. Burzynski permission to conduct clinical trials of antineoplaston therapy at his own clinic. Ongoing non-randomized clinical trials at the Burzynski clinic continue to study the effect of antineoplastons on cancer.
The antineoplastons now used in clinical trials are A10, AS2-5, AS2-1, A2, A3, and A5. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI website.