Low Dose Naltrexone, LDN, for Crohn’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Autoimmune Diseases, and Central Nervous System Disorders.
Although prospective, controlled clinical trials on LDN in the treatment of cancer are yet to be accomplished, as of March 2004 clinical “off-label” use of this medication by Dr. Bihari in some 450 patients with cancer almost all of whom had failed to respond to standard treatments suggests that more than 60% of patients with cancer may significantly benefit from LDN.
Of the 354 patients with whom Dr. Bihari had regular follow-up, 86 have shown objective signs of significant tumor shrinkage, at least a 75% reduction. 125 patients have stabilized and/or are moving toward remission.
Dr. Bihari’s results sharply contrast to prior usual cancer treatment outcomes: either a cancer-induced death or a total cure. LDN therapy presents a viable third alternative, the possible long-term stabilization and/or gradual reduction of tumor mass volume.
Thus, with LDN, cancer can in some cases become a manageable chronic disease. Patients have the possibility of living free of symptoms, without, in many cases, the crippling side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
> How It Works
Low dose naltrexone might exert its effects on tumor growth through a mix of three possible mechanisms:
By inducing increases of metenkephalin (an endorphin produced in large amounts in the adrenal medulla) and beta endorphin in the blood stream;
By inducing an increase in the number and density of opiate receptors on the tumor cell membranes, thereby making them more responsive to the growth-inhibiting effects of the already-present levels of endorphins, which induce apoptosis (cell death) in the cancer cells; and
By increasing the natural killer (NK) cell numbers and NK cell activity and lymphocyte activated CD8 numbers, which are quite responsive to increased levels of endorphins.1 (abstract)
> Cancers that are reported by Dr. Bihari to apparently respond to LDN:
Colon & Rectal Cancer
Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)
Lymphocytic Leukemia (chronic)
Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
Prostate Cancer (untreated)
Renal Cell Carcinoma
> What the Future Holds
If the results of trials of low dose naltrexone in certain cancers are positive, the drug could eventually become an additional mainstay of cancer treatment adjunctive with chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer cell growth inhibitor receptor agonists or even a replacement for current therapies, as primary treatment for those cancers that show little response to standard therapies.
> As of March 2004
Since February 1999, Dr. Bihari has begun treatment of some 450 cancer patients with LDN. Since many of these patients, particularly those seen before October 2000, were seen only once in consultation with medical follow-up by their oncologists, Dr. Bihari is missing up-to-date follow-up data on 96 patients.
As of March 2004, of the remaining 354 patients, 84 have died, all but 4 of cancer-related causes. Most of these deaths have occurred in the first 8 to 12 weeks on LDN. For the most part, these were patients who were quite ill when first seen, and had exhausted all other treatment possibilities. Of the remaining 270 patients, 220 have been on LDN for six months or longer. Of these, 86 have shown significant movement toward remission, identified for this purpose as a reduction of at least 75% in tumor mass and tumor-related symptoms. Of the other 134 patients, 9 have continued to show tumor progression, whereas the other 125 have stabilized and/or are moving toward remission but do not yet meet the 75% reduction criterion.