Dietary Supplementation with L-Arginine in Patients with Breast-Cancer (greater-than-4 cm) Receiving Multimodality Treatment: report of a feasability study

Julie Brittenden, Steven Darryll Heys, I Miller, T K Sarkar, A W Hutcheon, Gillian Needham, Fiona Jane Gilbert, M McKean, A K Ahsee, O Eremin

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L-Arginine has been shown, in human breast cancers, to increase protein synthesis and the number of cells in the growth phase of the cell cycle. L-Arginine, therefore, may potentiate the response of breast cancers to cell cycle-specific cytotoxic agents. This phase II pilot study assessed the clinical, radiological and pathological responses in 44 patients with breast cancers >4 cm in diameter (46 tumours: T2, n = 6; T3, n = 22; T4, n = 19), who received oral L-arginine 30 g day(-1) for 3 days prior to each cycle of CHOP chemotherapy, followed after 4-6 cycles by radiotherapy. Following this treatment, 95% of patients had a clinical response: complete response in 30% and partial response in 65%. Imaging, ultrasound and mammography revealed response rates of 91% and 76% respectively. Surgery was performed in 43 patients. Histological examination revealed that in 18% of cases there was no residual evidence of tumour. Furthermore, if residual tumour was identified, the degree of destruction was graded as 'severe' in 36% and 'moderate' in 30% of cases. Further studies are now required to evaluate the potential beneficial use of nutritional pharmacology in combination with existing treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-921
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1994


  • total parenteral-nutrition
  • induction chemotherapy
  • management
  • radiotherapy
  • adjuvant
  • therapy

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