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Mistletoe Extracts (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - History


More information about the immune system and how it works.


  1. Capernaros Z: The golden bough: the case for mistletoe. Eur J Herbal Med 1 (1):19-24, 1994.
  2. Mistletoe. In: Murray MT: The Healing Power of Herbs. Roseville, Calif: Prima Publishing, 1995, pp 253-9.
  3. Samtleben R, Hajto T, Hostanska K, et al.: Mistletoe lectins as immunostimulants (chemistry, pharmacology and clinic). In: Wagner H, ed.: Immunomodulatory Agents from Plants. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser Verlag, 1999, pp 223-41.
  4. Olsnes S, Stirpe F, Sandvig K, et al.: Isolation and characterization of viscumin, a toxic lectin from Viscum album L. (mistletoe). J Biol Chem 257 (22): 13263-70, 1982.
  5. Becker H: Botany of European mistletoe (Viscum album L.). Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 2-7, 1986.
  6. Watkins D: A berry Christmas. Nurs Times 93 (51): 28-9, 1997 Dec 17-23.
  7. Lenartz D, Stoffel B, Menzel J, et al.: Immunoprotective activity of the galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe after tumor destructive therapy in glioma patients. Anticancer Res 16 (6B): 3799-802, 1996 Nov-Dec.
  8. Gabius HJ, Gabius S, Joshi SS, et al.: From ill-defined extracts to the immunomodulatory lectin: will there be a reason for oncological application of mistletoe? Planta Med 60 (1): 2-7, 1994.
  9. Lenartz D, Dott U, Menzel J, et al.: Survival of glioma patients after complementary treatment with galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe. Anticancer Res 20 (3B): 2073-6, 2000 May-Jun.
  10. Steuer-Vogt MK, Bonkowsky V, Ambrosch P, et al.: The effect of an adjuvant mistletoe treatment programme in resected head and neck cancer patients: a randomised controlled clinical trial. Eur J Cancer 37 (1): 23-31, 2001.
  11. Goebell PJ, Otto T, Suhr J, et al.: Evaluation of an unconventional treatment modality with mistletoe lectin to prevent recurrence of superficial bladder cancer: a randomized phase II trial. J Urol 168 (1): 72-5, 2002.
  12. Friess H, Beger HG, Kunz J, et al.: Treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer with mistletoe: results of a pilot trial. Anticancer Res 16 (2): 915-20, 1996 Mar-Apr.
  13. Grossarth-Maticek R, Kiene H, Baumgartner SM, et al.: Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study. Altern Ther Health Med 7 (3): 57-66, 68-72, 74-6 passim, 2001 May-Jun.
  14. Fellmer KE: A clinical trial of Iscador: follow-up treatment of irradiated genital carcinomata for the prevention of recurrences. Br Homeopath J 57: 43-7, 1968.
  15. Kjaer M: Mistletoe (Iscador) therapy in stage IV renal adenocarcinoma. A phase II study in patients with measurable lung metastases. Acta Oncol 28 (4): 489-94, 1989.
  16. Majewski A, Bentele W: [Adjunct treatment in female genital carcinoma]. Zentralbl Gynakol 20: 696-700, 1963.
  17. Fellmer Ch, Fellmer KE: [Follow-up treatment of irradiated genital carcinoma with the Viscum album preparation "Iscador"]. Krebsarzt 2: 175-85, 1966.
  18. Leroi R: [Studies on additional Iscador therapy in the management of women with surgically and radiotherapeutically treated genital carcinoma] Gynaecologia 167 (3): 158-70, 1969.
  19. Leroi R: [Postoperative Viscum album therapy after surgery of breast neoplasms] Helv Chir Acta 44 (3): 403-14, 1977.
  20. Salzer G, Havelec L: [Prevention of recurrence of bronchial carcinomas after surgery by means of the mistletoe extract Iscador. Results of a clinical study from 1969-1971] Onkologie 1 (6): 264-7, 1978.
  21. Salzer G, Denck H: [Randomized study on medicamentous recurrence prophylaxis with 5-fluorouracil and Iscador in resectioned stomach cancer. Results of an intermediate assessment]. Dtsch Z Onkol 11 (5): 130-1, 1979.
  22. Salzer G: Pleura carcinosis. Cytomorphological findings with the mistletoe preparation iscador and other pharmaceuticals. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 66-70, 1986.
  23. Douwes FR, Wolfrum DI, Migeod F: [Results of a prospective randomized study: chemotherapy versus chemotherapy plus "biological response modifier" in metastasizing colorectal carcinoma]. Dtsch Z Onkol 18 (6): 155-64, 1986.
  24. Douwes FR, Kalden M, Frank G, et al.: [Treatment of advanced colorectal carcinoma: efficacy test of the combination of 5-fluorouracil and tetrahydrofolic acid versus 5-fluorouracil and tetrahydrofolic acid in combination with an optimized Helixor treatment]. Dtsch Z Onkol 21 (3): 63-7, 1988.
  25. Gutsch J, Berger H, Scholz G, et al.: [Prospective study in radically operated breast cancer with polychemotherapy, Helixor® and untreated controls]. Dtsch Z Onkol 21: 94-101, 1988.
  26. Bradley GW, Clover A: Apparent response of small cell lung cancer to an extract of mistletoe and homoeopathic treatment. Thorax 44 (12): 1047-8, 1989.
  27. Dold U, Edler L, Mäurer HCh, et al., eds.: [Adjuvant Cancer Therapy in Advanced Non-Small Cell Bronchial Cancer: Multicentric Controlled Studies To Test the Efficacy of Iscador and Polyerga]. Stuttgart, Germany: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1991.
  28. Heiny BM: [Adjuvant therapy with standardized mistletoe extract reduces leukopenia and improves the quality of life of patients with advanced breast cancer under palliative chemotherapy (VEC regimen)]. Krebsmedizin 12: 1-14, 1991.
  29. Schaefermeyer G, Schaefermeyer H: Treatment of pancreatic cancer with Viscum album (Iscador): a retrospective study of 292 patients 1986-1996. Complement Ther Med 6 (4): 172-7, 1998.
  30. Kleeberg UR, Brocker EB, Lejeune F, et al.: Adjuvant trial in melanoma patients comparing rlFN-alpha to rlFN-gamma to Iscador to a control group after curative resection of high risk primary (>=3mm) or regional lymphnode metastasis (EORTC 18871). [Abstract] Eur J Cancer 35 (Suppl 4): A-264, s82, 1999.
  31. Krause F, Erkan F: [Adjuvant Iscador treatment of resectioned bronchial carcinomas]. [Abstract] Onkol Symp Ludwig Boltzmann Inst (6): 158, 1983.
  32. Salzer G, Havelec L: [Adjuvant Iscador treatment after operated stomach cancer. Results of a randomized study]. Dtsch Z Onkol 15 (4): 106-10, 1983.
  33. Salzer G: [30 years of experience with mistletoe therapy in public health facilities]. In: Leroi R, ed.: [Mistletoe Therapy: A Response to the Challenge of Cancer]. Stuttgart, Germany: Freies Geistesleben, 1987, pp. 173-215.
  34. Salzer G: [Prospective randomized study: operated stomach cancer. Adjuvant treatment with Iscador--an unconventional consideration]. Dtsch Z Onkol 20 (4): 90-3, 1988.
  35. Salzer G, Danmayr E, Wutzholfer F, et al.: [Adjuvant Iscador® treatment of non-small cell bronchial carcinoma. Results of a randomized study]. Dtsch Z Onkol 23 (4): 93-8, 1991.
  36. Eggermont AM, Kleeberg UR, Ruiter DJ, et al.: European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Melanoma Group trial experience with more than 2,000 patients, evaluating adjuvant treatment with low or intermediate doses of interferon alpha-2b. In: American Society of Clinical Oncology.: ASCO 2001 Educational Book: Thirty-Seventh Annual Meeting, May 12-15, 2001, San Francisco, CA. Alexandria, Va: ASCO, 2001, pp 88-93.
  37. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P: Mistletoe treatment for cancer: review of controlled trials in humans. Phytomedicine 1: 255-60, 1994.
  38. Stauder H, Kreuser ED: Mistletoe extracts standardised in terms of mistletoe lectins (ML I) in oncology: current state of clinical research. Onkologie 25 (4): 374-80, 2002.
  39. Nienhaus J, Stoll M, Vester F: Thymus stimulation and cancer prophylaxis by Viscum proteins. Experientia 26 (5): 523-5, 1970.
  40. Rentea R, Lyon E, Hunter R: Biologic properties of iscador: a Viscum album preparation I. Hyperplasia of the thymic cortex and accelerated regeneration of hematopoietic cells following X-irradiation. Lab Invest 44 (1): 43-8, 1981.
  41. Bloksma N, Schmiermann P, de Reuver M, et al.: Stimulation of humoral and cellular immunity by Viscum preparations. Planta Med 46 (4): 221-7, 1982.
  42. Hajto T: Immunomodulatory effects of iscador: a Viscum album preparation. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 51-65, 1986.
  43. Hajto T, Lanzrein C: Natural killer and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity activities and large granular lymphocyte frequencies in Viscum album-treated breast cancer patients. Oncology 43 (2): 93-7, 1986.
  44. Hamprecht K, Handgretinger R, Voetsch W, et al.: Mediation of human NK-activity by components in extracts of Viscum album. Int J Immunopharmacol 9 (2): 199-209, 1987.
  45. Hajto T, Hostanska K, Gabius HJ: Modulatory potency of the beta-galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe extract (Iscador) on the host defense system in vivo in rabbits and patients. Cancer Res 49 (17): 4803-8, 1989.
  46. Mueller EA, Hamprecht K, Anderer FA: Biochemical characterization of a component in extracts of Viscum album enhancing human NK cytotoxicity. Immunopharmacology 17 (1): 11-8, 1989 Jan-Feb.
  47. Hajto T, Hostanska K, Frei K, et al.: Increased secretion of tumor necrosis factors alpha, interleukin 1, and interleukin 6 by human mononuclear cells exposed to beta-galactoside-specific lectin from clinically applied mistletoe extract. Cancer Res 50 (11): 3322-6, 1990.
  48. Beuth J, Ko HL, Gabius HJ, et al.: Behavior of lymphocyte subsets and expression of activation markers in response to immunotherapy with galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe in breast cancer patients. Clin Investig 70 (8): 658-61, 1992.
  49. Kuttan G, Kuttan R: Immunological mechanism of action of the tumor reducing peptide from mistletoe extract (NSC 635089) cellular proliferation. Cancer Lett 66 (2): 123-30, 1992.
  50. Kuttan G, Kuttan R: Immunomodulatory activity of a peptide isolated from Viscum album extract (NSC 635 089). Immunol Invest 21 (4): 285-96, 1992.
  51. Gabius HJ, Walzel H, Joshi SS, et al.: The immunomodulatory beta-galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe: partial sequence analysis, cell and tissue binding, and impact on intracellular biosignalling of monocytic leukemia cells. Anticancer Res 12 (3): 669-75, 1992 May-Jun.
  52. Beuth J, Ko HL, Tunggal L, et al.: Thymocyte proliferation and maturation in response to galactoside-specific mistletoe lectin-1. In Vivo 7 (5): 407-10, 1993 Sep-Oct.
  53. Timoshenko AV, Gabius HJ: Efficient induction of superoxide release from human neutrophils by the galactoside-specific lectin from Viscum album. Biol Chem Hoppe Seyler 374 (4): 237-43, 1993.
  54. Timoshenko AV, Kayser K, Drings P, et al.: Modulation of lectin-triggered superoxide release from neutrophils of tumor patients with and without chemotherapy. Anticancer Res 13 (5C): 1789-92, 1993 Sep-Oct.
  55. Kuttan G: Tumoricidal activity of mouse peritoneal macrophages treated with Viscum album extract. Immunol Invest 22 (6-7): 431-40, 1993 Aug-Oct.
  56. Beuth J, Ko HL, Tunggal L, et al.: Immunoprotective activity of the galactoside-specific mistletoe lectin in cortisone-treated BALB/c-mice. In Vivo 8 (6): 989-92, 1994 Nov-Dec.
  57. Heiny BM, Beuth J: Mistletoe extract standardized for the galactoside-specific lectin (ML-1) induces beta-endorphin release and immunopotentiation in breast cancer patients. Anticancer Res 14 (3B): 1339-42, 1994 May-Jun.
  58. Stein G, Berg PA: Non-lectin component in a fermented extract from Viscum album L. grown on pines induces proliferation of lymphocytes from healthy and allergic individuals in vitro. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 47 (1): 33-8, 1994.
  59. Timoshenko AV, Gabius HJ: Influence of the galactoside-specific lectin from Viscum album and its subunits on cell aggregation and selected intracellular parameters of rat thymocytes. Planta Med 61 (2): 130-3, 1995.
  60. Timoshenko AV, Cherenkevich SN, Gabius HJ: Viscum album agglutinin-induced aggregation of blood cells and the lectin effects on neutrophil function. Biomed Pharmacother 49 (3): 153-8, 1995.
  61. Hostanska K, Hajto T, Spagnoli GC, et al.: A plant lectin derived from Viscum album induces cytokine gene expression and protein production in cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Nat Immun 14 (5-6): 295-304, 1995.
  62. Beuth J, Stoffel B, Ko HL, et al.: Immunomodulating ability of galactoside-specific lectin standardized and depleted mistletoe extract. Arzneimittelforschung 45 (11): 1240-2, 1995.
  63. Fischer S, Scheffler A, Kabelitz D: Oligoclonal in vitro response of CD4 T cells to vesicles of mistletoe extracts in mistletoe-treated cancer patients. Cancer Immunol Immunother 44 (3): 150-6, 1997.
  64. Preisfeld A: Influence of aqueous mistletoe preparations on humoral immune parameters with emphasis on the cytotoxicity of human complement in breast cancer patients. Forsch Komplementarmed 4 (4): 224-8, 1997.
  65. Chernyshov VP, Omelchenko LI, Heusser P, et al.: Immunomodulatory actions of Viscum album (Iscador) in children with recurrent respiratory disease as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Complement Ther Med 5 (3): 141-6, 1997.
  66. Heiny BM, Albrecht V, Beuth J: Correlation of immune cell activities and beta-endorphin release in breast carcinoma patients treated with galactose-specific lectin standardized mistletoe extract. Anticancer Res 18 (1B): 583-6, 1998 Jan-Feb.
  67. Stein GM, Schaller G, Pfüller U, et al.: Characterisation of granulocyte stimulation by thionins from European mistletoe and from wheat. Biochim Biophys Acta 1426 (1): 80-90, 1999.
  68. Stein GM, Schaller G, Pfüller U, et al.: Thionins from Viscum album L: influence of the viscotoxins on the activation of granulocytes. Anticancer Res 19 (2A): 1037-42, 1999 Mar-Apr.
  69. Mengs U, Göthel D, Leng-Peschlow E: Mistletoe extracts standardized to mistletoe lectins in oncology: review on current status of preclinical research. Anticancer Res 22 (3): 1399-407, 2002 May-Jun.
  70. Bocci V: Mistletoe (viscum album) lectins as cytokine inducers and immunoadjuvant in tumor therapy. A review. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 7 (1): 1-6, 1993 Jan-Mar.
  71. Zee-Cheng RK: Anticancer research on Loranthaceae plants. Drugs Future 22 (5): 519-30, 1997.
  72. Kaegi E: Unconventional therapies for cancer: 3. Iscador. Task Force on Alternative Therapies of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative. CMAJ 158 (9): 1157-9, 1998.
  73. Stirpe F, Sandvig K, Olsnes S, et al.: Action of viscumin, a toxic lectin from mistletoe, on cells in culture. J Biol Chem 257 (22): 13271-7, 1982.
  74. Khwaja TA, Dias CB, Pentecost S: Recent studies on the anticancer activities of mistletoe (Viscum album) and its alkaloids. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 42-50, 1986.
  75. Ribéreau-Gayon G, Jung ML, Baudino S, et al.: Effects of mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extracts on cultured tumor cells. Experientia 42 (6): 594-9, 1986.
  76. Ribéreau-Gayon G, Jung ML, Di Scala D, et al.: Comparison of the effects of fermented and unfermented mistletoe preparations on cultured tumor cells. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 35-41, 1986.
  77. Hülsen H, Mechelke F: In vitro effectiveness of a mistletoe preparation on cytostatic-drug-resistant human leukemia cells. Naturwissenschaften 74 (3): 144-5, 1987.
  78. Kuttan G, Vasudevan DM, Kuttan R: Isolation and identification of a tumour reducing component from mistletoe extract (Iscador). Cancer Lett 41 (3): 307-14, 1988.
  79. Jung ML, Baudino S, Ribéreau-Gayon G, et al.: Characterization of cytotoxic proteins from mistletoe (Viscum album L.). Cancer Lett 51 (2): 103-8, 1990.
  80. Kuttan G, Vasudevan DM, Kuttan R: Effect of a preparation from Viscum album on tumor development in vitro and in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 29 (1): 35-41, 1990.
  81. Walzel H, Jonas L, Rosin T, et al.: Relationship between internalization kinetics and cytotoxicity of mistletoe lectin I to L1210 leukaemia cells. Folia Biol (Praha) 36 (3-4): 181-8, 1990.
  82. Gawlik C, Versteeg R, Engel E, et al.: Antiproliferative effect of mistleotoe-extracts in melanoma cell lines. [Abstract] Anticancer Res 12 (6A): A-364, 1882, 1992.
  83. Janssen O, Scheffler A, Kabelitz D: In vitro effects of mistletoe extracts and mistletoe lectins. Cytotoxicity towards tumor cells due to the induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Arzneimittelforschung 43 (11): 1221-7, 1993.
  84. Jurin M, Zarković N, Hrzenjak M, et al.: Antitumorous and immunomodulatory effects of the Viscum album L. preparation Isorel. Oncology 50 (6): 393-8, 1993 Nov-Dec.
  85. Schaller G, Urech K, Giannattasio M: Cytotoxicity of different viscotoxins and extracts from the European subspecies Viscum album L. Phytother Res 10 (6): 473-7, 1996.
  86. Gabius HJ, Darro F, Remmelink M, et al.: Evidence for stimulation of tumor proliferation in cell lines and histotypic cultures by clinically relevant low doses of the galactoside-binding mistletoe lectin, a component of proprietary extracts. Cancer Invest 19 (2): 114-26, 2001.
  87. Maier G, Fiebig HH: Absence of tumor growth stimulation in a panel of 16 human tumor cell lines by mistletoe extracts in vitro. Anticancer Drugs 13 (4): 373-9, 2002.
  88. Holtskog R, Sandvig K, Olsnes S: Characterization of a toxic lectin in Iscador, a mistletoe preparation with alleged cancerostatic properties. Oncology 45 (3): 172-9, 1988.
  89. Dietrich JB, Ribéreau-Gayon G, Jung ML, et al.: Identity of the N-terminal sequences of the three A chains of mistletoe (Viscum album L.) lectins: homology with ricin-like plant toxins and single-chain ribosome-inhibiting proteins. Anticancer Drugs 3 (5): 507-11, 1992.
  90. Franz H: Mistletoe lectins and their A and B chains. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 23-34, 1986.
  91. Büssing A, Azhari T, Ostendorp H, et al.: Viscum album L. extracts reduce sister chromatid exchanges in cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Eur J Cancer 30A (12): 1836-41, 1994.
  92. Büssing A, Lehnert A, Schink M, et al.: Effect of Viscum album L. on rapidly proliferating amniotic fluid cells. Sister chromatid exchange frequency and proliferation index. Arzneimittelforschung 45 (1): 81-3, 1995.
  93. Büssing A, Regnery A, Schweizer K: Effects of Viscum album L. on cyclophosphamide-treated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro: sister chromatid exchanges and activation/proliferation marker expression. Cancer Lett 94 (2): 199-205, 1995.
  94. Bussing A, Jungmann H, Suzart K, et al.: Suppression of sister chromatid exchange-inducing DNA lesions in cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells by Viscum album L. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 15 (2): 107-14, 1996.
  95. Büssing A, Suzart K, Bergmann J, et al.: Induction of apoptosis in human lymphocytes treated with Viscum album L. is mediated by the mistletoe lectins. Cancer Lett 99 (1): 59-72, 1996.
  96. Kunze E, Schulz H, Gabius HJ: Inability of galactoside-specific mistletoe lectin to inhibit N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-induced tumor development in the urinary bladder of rats and to mediate a local cellular immune response after long-term administration. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 124 (2): 73-87, 1998.
  97. Kunze E, Schulz H, Adamek M, et al.: Long-term administration of galactoside-specific mistletoe lectin in an animal model: no protection against N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)-nitrosamine-induced urinary bladder carcinogenesis in rats and no induction of a relevant local cellular immune response. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 126 (3): 125-38, 2000.
  98. Mengs U, Schwarz T, Bulitta M, et al.: Antitumoral effects of an intravesically applied aqueous mistletoe extract on urinary bladder carcinoma MB49 in mice. Anticancer Res 20 (5B): 3565-8, 2000 Sep- Oct.
  99. Sweeney EC, Palmer RA, Pfüller U: Crystallization of the ribosome inactivating protein ML1 from Viscum album (mistletoe) complexed with beta-D-galactose. J Mol Biol 234 (4): 1279-81, 1993.
  100. Jäggy C, Musielski H, Urech K, et al.: Quantitative determination of lectins in mistletoe preparations. Arzneimittelforschung 45 (8): 905-9, 1995.
  101. Burger AM, Mengs U, Schüler JB, et al.: Anticancer activity of an aqueous mistletoe extract (AME) in syngeneic murine tumor models. Anticancer Res 21 (3B): 1965-8, 2001 May-Jun.
  102. Zarkovic N, Vukovic T, Loncaric I, et al.: An overview on anticancer activities of the Viscum album extract Isorel. Cancer Biother Radiopharm 16 (1): 55-62, 2001.
  103. Mueller EA, Anderer FA: Chemical specificity of effector cell/tumor cell bridging by a Viscum album rhamnogalacturonan enhancing cytotoxicity of human NK cells. Immunopharmacology 19 (1): 69-77, 1990 Jan-Feb.

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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