Allium Sativum (Garlic) Treatment for
Murine Transitional Cell Carcinoma

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   Cancer 1997 (May);   79:   19871994

Riggs DR, DeHaven JI, Lamm DL

Department of Urology,
West Virginia University School of Medicine,
Morgantown 26506, USA

BACKGROUND:   Currently, immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is the most effective treatment for superficial bladder carcinoma, but treatment-related toxicity may limit its use in some patients. Alternative treatments are needed for patients who fail to respond to BCG immunotherapy. Allium sativum (AS), or garlic, is known to have a broad range of biologic activities, including immune stimulation and reported antitumor activity. For these reasons the authors conducted a series of experiments designed to explore the possible therapeutic effects of AS in the MBT2 murine bladder carcinoma model.

METHODS:   C3H/HeN mice were randomized prior to initiation of each experimental protocol. Mice received 1 x 103 MBT2 ceus in 0.1 mL RPMI-1640, administered subcutaneously into the right thigh, on Day 0 of the experiment. AS was injected at the site of tumor transplantation on Day 1 and at 2- to 7-day intervals up to Day 28. To evaluate the effects of oral AS in this model, treatment was initiated 30 days prior to tumor inoculation and continued for 30 days after tumor inoculation. Animals in all experiments were followed for tumor incidence, tumor growth, and survival.

RESULTS:   In the initial experiments, subcutaneous AS significantly reduced tumor volume compared with the saline control (P < 0.05). Unfortunately, treatment-related death was also observed, requiring reduction in the total dose of AS. Animals that received 5 weekly immunizations of AS (5 mg, 5 mg, 1 mg, I mg, and I mg; cumulative dose = 13 mg) had significantly reduced tumor incidence, tumor growth, and increased survival when compared with animals that received the saline control. No treatment-related deaths were observed with this treatment schedule. To determine whether systemic AS administration might be effective, orally administered AS was tested at doses of 5 mg, 50 mg, and 500 mg per 100 mL of drinking water. Mice that received 50 mg oral AS had significant reductions in tumor volume (P < 0.05) when compared with animals that received the saline control, and mice that received 500 mg oral AS had significant reductions in both tumor volume and mortality (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:   The significant antitumor efficacy of subcutaneous and oral AS warrants further investigation and suggests that AS may provide a new and effective form of therapy for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

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