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Table 3 The effect of vitamin C on cancer-related pain

From: The role of vitamin C in the treatment of pain: new insights

Study type

Intervention

Findings

Uncontrolled prospective

 Advanced cancer [90]

0.8–3 g IV vitamin C/kg body weight (N = 17) 4 days/week for 4 weeks

Before: 36% pain (N = 17)

Week 1: 35% pain (N = 16)

Week 2: 35% pain (N = 12)

Week 3: 29% pain (N = 7)

Week 4: 0% pain (N = 2)

(EORTC QLQ)

 Advanced cancer [89]

25–100 g IV vitamin C (N = 60) twice weekly for 4 weeks

Before: 18% pain

Week 2: 14% pain

Week 4: 10% pain

(EORTC QLQ)

 Terminal cancer [88]

10 g IV vitamin C (N = 39) twice over 1 week 4 g/day oral vitamin C for 1 week

Before: 30% pain

Week 1: 21% pain

(EORTC QLQ)

Controlled retrospective

 Bone metastases [84]

i. Control (N = 9)

i. ↑ pain (VAS)

ii. Chemotherapy (N = 15)

ii. 0–80% ↓ pain

iii. 2.5 g IV vitamin C (N = 15) during pain

iii. 0–100% ↓ pain, mean 50% ↓ pain

 Breast cancer [87]

i. Control (N = 72)

i. 15% pain

ii. 7.5 g IV vitamin C (N = 53) once weekly for ≥ 4 weeks

ii. 10% pain* (intensity of complaints during adjuvant therapy)

Uncontrolled retrospective

 Bone metastases [83]

2.5 g IV vitamin C (N = 11) once weekly for 3–10 weeks

0–100% ↓ pain (VAS), mean 49% ↓ pain

Case report

 Breast cancer [133]

50 g IV vitamin C twice weekly for 4 weeks

Before: 17% pain

After: 8% pain

(EORTC QLQ)

 Terminal cancer [95]

30 g/day IV vitamin C for 1 week

Before: 17% pain

After: 0% pain

(EORTC QLQ)

 Metastatic breast cancer [81]

10 g/day oral vitamin C for 550 days

Pain relief for >1 year

 Breast cancer with skeletal metastases—severe pain [81]

5 g/day IV vitamin C for 7 days

8 g/day oral vitamin C for 70 days

Complete ↓ bone pain from day 4

 Bladder cancer with skeletal metastases—intense pain [81]

10 g/day IV vitamin C for 10 days

10 g/day oral vitamin C for 24 days

Dramatic ↓ bone pain

 Breast cancer with osteolytic metastases—severe bone pain [81]

10 g/day IV vitamin C for 7 days

10 g/day oral vitamin C for 27 days

Complete ↓ bone pain

  1. EORTC QLQ European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, IV intravenous, VAS visual analogue scale
  2. P < 0.05