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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