New Study Challenges Benefits of Vitamin B in Chemotherapy

By Cancer Monthly, Special for  USDR

British researchers say the practice of giving chemotherapy patients supplements of B12 and folic acid may be not doing enough to ward off a serious side effect. Surviving Mesothelioma has the full story on its website. Click here to read it now.

Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, UK studied 83 patients with advanced lung cancer orpleural mesothelioma who were on non-pemetrexed platinum-based chemotherapy. Half of the patients received supplements to reduce the risk of neutropenia, a drop in white blood cells that increases infection risk.

“The addition of vitamin B12 and folic acid to platinum-containing regimens did not overall improve the toxicity, quality of life or overall survival,” writes Dr. Mary O’Brien, one of the study’s authors.

In fact, according to the study in BMJ Open Respiratory Research, only 25% of mesothelioma and lung cancer patients on the supplements experienced a drop in homocysteine, an amino acid that increases the risk of neutropenia.

“Since most mesothelioma patients will be on chemotherapy at some point, it is vital that they understand serious risks such as neutropenia and potential ways of avoiding them,” says Alex Strauss, Managing Editor of Surviving Mesothelioma.

For more on vitamin supplementation and mesothelioma chemotherapy, see Mesothelioma Chemotherapy: Can Supplements Make it Safer?, now available on the Surviving Mesothelioma website.

Minchom, AR et al, “An unblinded, randomised phase II study of platinum-based chemotherapy with vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation in the treatment of lung cancer with plasma homocysteine blood levels as a biomarker of severe neutropenic toxicity”, December 11, 2014, BMJ Open Respiratory Research,

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.