Ascorbic Acid in Cancer Treatment: Let the Phoenix Fly

Niraj Shenoy, Edward Creagan, Thomas Witzig, Mark Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate), despite controversy, has re-emerged as a promising anti-cancer agent. Recent knowledge of intravenous ascorbate pharmacokinetics and discovery of unexpected mechanisms of ascorbate action have spawned many investigations. Two mechanisms of anti-cancer activity with ascorbate have gained prominence: hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and DNA demethylation mediated by ten-eleven translocation enzyme activation. Here, we highlight salient aspects of the evolution of ascorbate in cancer treatment, provide insights into the pharmacokinetics of ascorbate, describe mechanisms of its anti-cancer activity in relation to the pharmacokinetics, outline promising preclinical and clinical evidence, and recommend future directions. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate), despite controversy, has re-emerged as a promising anti-cancer agent. Recent knowledge of intravenous ascorbate pharmacokinetics and discovery of unexpected mechanisms of ascorbate action have spawned many investigations. Two mechanisms of anti-cancer activity with ascorbate have gained prominence: hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and DNA demethylation mediated by ten-eleven translocation enzyme activation. Here, we highlight salient aspects of the evolution of ascorbate in cancer treatment, provide insights into the pharmacokinetics of ascorbate, describe mechanisms of its anti-cancer activity in relation to the pharmacokinetics, outline promising preclinical and clinical evidence, and recommend future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-706
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Cell
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 12 2018

Keywords

  • ascorbic acid
  • cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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