Burzynski and Antineoplastons

An alternative cancer therapy popular for over a decade is that of Stanislaw Burzynski, who treats cancer with what he terms "antineoplastons." These are mixtures of peptides, amino acids, and other simple organic substances that he claims promote the body's natural defenses against cancer. Although he has published several studies of his own, these are of a rather unclear design.20 A Phase II trial in glioma conducted under the auspices of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was halted due to poor accrual and a failure of Burzynski to agree with the investigators on possible expansion of the eligibility criteria. Nine patients were accrued, six of whom were evaluable for response. There were no objective responses, and all six patients showed evidence of tumor progression after treatment durations between 16 and 66 days. The mean time to treatment failure (progression or discontinuation due to toxicity) was 29 days. All nine patients died before the study closed, all but one death resulting from tumor progression.21 Despite the absence of data in support of Burzynski's regimen, it remains heavily promoted, especially as a treatment for pediatric brain tumors.

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