Antioxidants and Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy

This is vital information! We must empower our patients to overcome the ignorance of Oncologists who truly do not have any idea why taking our antioxidants actually enhances all of their treatment. We do not neutralize their oxidation treatments and Dr Simone has all the knowledge to make this understandable, as he did at the last ACAM conference, and the credentials to make the uninformed oncologists who tell every patient to never take an antioxidant sit up and take notice that they are badly out of date on passing on this misinformation to patients.


Garry F. Gordon MD,DO,MD(H)

President, Gordon Research Institute


Antioxidants and Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy


Hi Gary – Below is the email I sent to my email list.  Maybe you could forward it to your group.  Hopefully we can educate the public about this important topic.


Thanks for your help,


Charles B. Simone, M.D.


Charles B. Simone, M.D. is an Internist (Cleveland Clinic 1975-77), Medical Oncologist (National Cancer Institute 1977-82), Tumor Immunologist (NCI 1977-82), and Radiation Oncologist (University of Pennsylvania 1982-85), and is the Founder of the Simone Protective Cancer Institute (1980).  He wrote Cancer and Nutrition (1981, third revision 2005), The Truth About Breast Health – Breast Cancer (2002), The Truth About Prostate Health – Prostate Cancer (2005),


In 1980 Dr Simone founded the KidStart Prevention Program, the first of its kind.  Since 1980 he has worked with inner city churches to teach prevention, detection, and treatment. He is a consultant for heads of state of the US and other countries, celebrities, and advises many governments regarding health care. He testifies for the Senate and House on matters concerning health, cancer, disease prevention, children’s health programs, FDA reform, and alternative medicine. He appears on 60 MINUTES, Prime Time Live, Fox News Channel, and others.

Simone Protective Cancer Center

123 Franklin Corner Road,  Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 609-896-2646



Dear Friends,


One of every two men and one of every three women in America will develop cancer – about 1.5 million cases per year.  In addition, since 1930, despite the use of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and improved surgical and diagnostic techniques, there has been limited improvement in cancer survival rates for most adult cancers. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, however, continue to have a large role in cancer treatment but produce great morbidity. About 900,000 cancer patients per year receive radiation therapy and about 750,000 cancer patients per year receive chemotherapy.  So we need to decrease side effects and also increase survival.


The Journal of the National Cancer Institute just published our Correspondence entitled, “Re: Should Supplemental Antioxidant Administration Be Avoided During Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy?” (Nov 5, 2008 – attached in pdf format or you can read it below). This work further supports our previous publications showing that people should take supplemental antioxidants during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 


Our findings are important because cancer patients have been told not to take supplemental antioxidants during treatment because a single interview in The New York Times in 1997 that was not based on published scientific work and a single research paper involving mouse cells, along with a press release by its author in 1999, led to the erroneous notion that vitamin C interferes with chemotherapy and radiation in humans. This notion soon applied to all antioxidants as physicians, patients, the media, the American Cancer Society, and scores of websites took the same position without reviewing the scientific evidence.


Our findings are clear and consistent over decades:

Since the 1970s, 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies, including 50 human studies involving 8,521 patients, 5,081 of whom were given nutrients, have consistently shown that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities for cancer. Furthermore, they enhance the killing of therapeutic modalities for cancer, decrease their side effects, and protect normal tissue. In 15 human studies, 3,738 patients who took non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival.


Charles B. Simone II, MD; Nicole L. Simone, MD; Victoria Simone, RN; Charles B. Simone, MD. ANTIOXIDANTS AND OTHER NUTRIENTS DO NOT INTERFERE WITH CHEMOTHERAPY OR RADIATION THERAPY AND CAN INCREASE KILL AND INCREASE SURVIVAL, PART 1 and 2. Altern Ther Health Med. Jan-Feb, and Mar-Apr, 2007;13(1):22-28; 13(2): 40-7.) Simone CB, Simone NL, Simone CB II.  Oncology Care Augmented with Nutritional and Lifestyle Modification.  J Ortho Mol Med. 1997; 12(4): 197-206.

Simone CB. Cancer and Nutrition, A Ten Point Plan for Prevention and Cancer Life Extension. Princeton Institute. 2006.


 JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute Should Supplemental Antioxidant Administration Be Avoided During Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy?

Charles B. Simone, Charles B. Simone, II Affiliation of authors: Simone Protective Cancer Institute, Lawrenceville, NJ Correspondence to: Charles B. Simone, MD, Simone Protective Cancer Institute, 123 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 (e-mail: ).


Lawenda et al. (1) expressed concerns about our review (2) of antioxidant and nutrient use during chemotherapy or radiation. The authors stated that we reviewed 52 human trials when in fact we discussed only 50. They dismissed the 36 observational studies we reviewed on the basis of study design. Unlike Lawenda et al., however, we included all pertinent peer-reviewed publications, regardless of randomization or sample size, to avoid bias and because observational studies provide valid information and virtually equivalent results as randomized trials, do not overestimate the magnitude of treatment effects, and are less costly than randomized trials (3,4).


Lawenda et al. further discounted 10 randomized trials that we cited because of small sample size. However, only five of nine trials with concurrent radiation and five of 16 trials with chemotherapy that they cited had a sample size more than 66 patients, and five chemotherapeutic trials had a sample size of 20 or fewer patients. Although Lawenda et al. concluded that “high-dose antioxidant supplementation during radiotherapy decreases local tumor control and shortens the survival of cancer patients,” the very trials they cited do not substantiate these claims. Lawenda et al. also did not mention the survival benefit demonstrated in a 100-patient study by


Lissoni et al., thus biasing their commentary.

Although most of the trials they cited demonstrated a decrease in side effects and several also showed an increase in treatment response and overall survival, one (5) reported an increase in disease recurrence and second primaries among smokers who received supplements. Although Lawenda et al. stated that “this study is the most important randomized clinical trial, to date, on the use of supplemental antioxidant and radiation therapy,” the conclusion drawn by the authors of that study was seriously flawed because they used retrospective capsule counts by patients to assess supplement compliance and never verified compliance by measuring antioxidant serum levels.


Lawenda et al. further stated that “anticancer therapies may lower plasma antioxidant concentrations by altering dietary intakes.” Although this is true, we reported that plasma antioxidants are decreased mainly by chemotherapy and radiation due to lipid peroxidation.


Lawenda et al. speculated that “antioxidants can exert their effects on all tissues to some degree, thereby protecting tumor cells as well as healthy ones.” However, the four in vitro studies they cited showed that more antioxidants accumulate in cancer cells than normal cells, which we reported (2). Accumulation of excessive antioxidants and nutrients in cancer cells can shut down oxidative reactions necessary for generating energy. Antioxidants also produce biologic effects on cancer cells unrelated to oxidative damage: they increase cancer cell differentiation, apoptosis, and growth inhibition, and they inhibit or enhance gene expression and/or activity of numerous proteins. Antioxidants selectively inhibit repair of radiation damage of cancer cells but protect normal cells when antioxidants are used before, during, and after radiation, and there are no published studies showing that antioxidants protect cancer cells against radiation (6,7).


Lawenda et al. begin their commentary with the maxim “first, do no harm.” Studies involving thousands of patients have demonstrated that antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation, but instead decrease toxicity and may improve response rates and overall survival. Perhaps, then, should the first step in doing no harm be to have a discussion with cancer patients about the utility of concurrent antioxidant administration?



1. Lawenda BD, Kelly KM, Ladas EJ, et al. Should supplemental antioxidant administration be avoided during chemotherapy and radiation therapy? J Natl Cancer Inst (2008) 100(11):773?783.

2. Simone CB II, Simone NL, Simone V, et al. Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival, part 1. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007; 13(1):22?28; Part 2. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(2):40?47.

3. Benson K, Hartz AJ. A comparison of observational studies and randomized, controlled trials. N Engl J Med (2000) 342(25): 1878?1886.

4. Concato J, Shah N, Horwitz RI. Randomized, controlled trials, observational studies, and the hierarchy of research designs. N Engl J Med (2000) 342(25):1887?1892.

5. Bairati I, Meyer F, Jobin E, et al. Antioxidant vitamins supplementation and mortality: a randomized trial in head and neck cancer patients. Int J Cancer (2006) 119(9):2221?2224.

6. Prasad KN, Cole WC, Kumar B, et al. Scientific rationale for using high-dose multiple micronutrients as an adjunct to standard and experimental cancer therapies. J Am Coll Nutr (2001) 20(5 suppl):450S?463S.

7. Prasad KN, Cole WC, Kumar B, et al. Pros and cons of antioxidant use during radiation therapy. Cancer Treat Rev. (2002) 28(2):79?91.


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