Modified Citrus Pectin
Caution: Some complementary agents or therapies may be useful for cancer patients; however, some may be harmful in certain situations. MD Anderson Cancer Center cautions patients to consult with their oncologist before attempting to use any agents or therapies referenced on these pages. Inclusion of an agent, therapy or resource on this CIMER Web site does not imply endorsement by MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Review is based upon articles published as of 02/01/07
- Information on the scientific basis of modified citrus pectin therapy is provided in the Detailed Scientific Review
Pectin is a naturally occurring substance found in the peel of citrus and other fruits; it is the jelling agent used in jams and jellies. Modified citrus pectin has been changed with heat and acid so that its long branched chains of sugars are broken down into smaller, non-branched chains of a simple sugar that is more digestible.
Slowing of tumor growth and spread has been reported in published animal studies, as well as a suggestion of possible cancer cell death (apoptosis). In a study of multiple myeloma cell lines, GCS-100, a derivative of citrus pectin, induced apoptosis in cells resistant to dexamethasone and other treatments. Delay of the prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) doubling time has been reported in a phase II pilot study of men with prostate cancer; however, that trial did not include a control (comparison) group.
The human clinical trial provided daily doses of 14.4 grams in three divided doses (each capsule contained 800 mg with a total of 18 capsules per day).
How it is taken
Both injections and oral doses have been given in animal studies, but only the oral method has been tried with humans.
Three of 10 patients in the phase II pilot study withdrew from the study due to side effects (two with mild abdominal cramps and one with mild diarrhea.)
None reported so far in the medical literature.
To avoid potential interactions, be sure to let your health care provider know if you use this or any other type of complementary therapy.
Authors and Editors
Nancy C. Russell, Dr.P.H., senior health education specialist, Integrative Medicine Program Education Component
Reviewers and editors
Wei Hu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Gynecologic Medical Oncology Research
Lorenzo P. Cohen, Ph.D., director, Integrative Medicine Program
Stephen P. Tomasovic, Ph.D., senior vice president for academic affairs