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    Gerson Therapy (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Human / Clinical Studies


    The Gerson Research Organization published a retrospective survival analysis of their melanoma patients treated with the Gerson approach, which was compared with published survival data according to stage. The analysis showed a survival advantage for melanoma patients with stage IIIA disease and stage IV disease with no visceral metastases, who were treated with the Gerson approach.[7] However, there has been no report of a prospective clinical trial confirming the findings of this retrospective analysis.

    The study looked at records of 153 patients with stage I-IV melanoma treated with the Gerson diet. Of the 14 stage I-II patients, all were disease-free at 17 years posttreatment; however, this number was too small for a statistical comparison with other cohorts. For stage III patients, the 5-year survival rate was 71% compared with rates of 27% to 42% reported in the literature. The stage IV patients had the largest survival advantage. The 5-year survival rate for these 18 patients was 39%, compared with 6% in the published literature. The analysis did not include 53 patients who were lost to follow-up, which could have influenced the survival comparisons.[7]

    A small best-case series [8] suggests that the evidence presented supports the development and conduct of a more definite clinical study on the Gerson regimen.

    No conclusions about the effectiveness of the Gerson therapy, either as an adjuvant to other cancer therapies or as a cure, can be drawn from any of the studies reported above.


    1. Gerson M: A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy. San Diego, Calif: The Gerson Institute, 2002.
    2. Gerson M: Effects of a combined dietary regime on patients with malignant tumors. Exp Med Surg 7 (4): 299-317, illust, 1949.
    3. Gerson M: Dietary considerations in malignant neoplastic disease: preliminary report. Rev Gastroenterol 12: 419-25, 1945. Also available online. Last accessed August 10, 2012.
    4. Gerson M: The cure of advanced cancer by diet therapy: a summary of 30 years of clinical experimentation. Physiol Chem Phys 10 (5): 449-64, 1978.
    5. Austin S, Dale EB, DeKadt S: Long term follow-up of cancer patients using Contreras, Hoxsey and Gerson therapies. J Naturopathic Med 5 (1): 74-6, 1994.
    6. Lechner P, Kroneberger L Jr: Experiences with the use of diet therapy in surgical oncology. Aktuel Ernahrungsmed 2 (15): 72-8, 1990.
    7. Hildenbrand GL, Hildenbrand LC, Bradford K, et al.: Five-year survival rates of melanoma patients treated by diet therapy after the manner of Gerson: a retrospective review. Altern Ther Health Med 1 (4): 29-37, 1995.
    8. Molassiotis A, Peat P: Surviving against all odds: analysis of 6 case studies of patients with cancer who followed the Gerson therapy. Integr Cancer Ther 6 (1): 80-8, 2007.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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