Glutathione treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma


Department of Medicine A, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark


ABSTRACT— This prospective study was undertaken to substantiate observations that glutathione (GSH) inhibits or reverses tumor growth in humans with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a neoplasm with an extremely poor prognosis. Eight patients with biopsy-proven HCC not amenable to surgery were given 5 g of GSH daily from the time of diagnosis. Two patients withdrew shortly after receiving GSH due to intolerable side-effects. Of the six eligible patients, two had mildly advanced tumors and four moderately advanced tumors. At 1–2-month intervals the liver was CT and ultra-sound scanned to assess the growth status of the tumor (progression, stagnation or regression). All the patients, except a male with a fibrolamellar type of HCC, died within 1 year after diagnosis. Two women with moderately advanced tumors survived almost 1 year, tumor growth stopped or regressed and in one of the women an initially abnormal alfa-1-fetoprotein (AFP) returned to normal after GSH treatment. AFP remained normal throughout the treatment period in the other woman. These observations indicate that GSH may have a sex-dependent effect on HCC. However, further studies involving more patients are required to pursue this hypothesis.