More information about the immune system and how it works.
Capernaros Z: The golden bough: the case for mistletoe. Eur J Herbal Med 1 (1):19-24, 1994.
Mistletoe. In: Murray MT: The Healing Power of Herbs. Roseville, Calif: Prima Publishing, 1995, pp 253-9.
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.
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.
Becker H: Botany of European mistletoe (Viscum album L.). Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 2-7, 1986.
Watkins D: A berry Christmas. Nurs Times 93 (51): 28-9, 1997 Dec 17-23.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Majewski A, Bentele W: [Adjunct treatment in female genital carcinoma]. Zentralbl Gynakol 20: 696-700, 1963.
Fellmer Ch, Fellmer KE: [Follow-up treatment of irradiated genital carcinoma with the Viscum album preparation "Iscador"]. Krebsarzt 2: 175-85, 1966.
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.
Leroi R: [Postoperative Viscum album therapy after surgery of breast neoplasms] Helv Chir Acta 44 (3): 403-14, 1977.
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.
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.
Salzer G: Pleura carcinosis. Cytomorphological findings with the mistletoe preparation iscador and other pharmaceuticals. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 66-70, 1986.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Krause F, Erkan F: [Adjuvant Iscador treatment of resectioned bronchial carcinomas]. [Abstract] Onkol Symp Ludwig Boltzmann Inst (6): 158, 1983.
Salzer G, Havelec L: [Adjuvant Iscador treatment after operated stomach cancer. Results of a randomized study]. Dtsch Z Onkol 15 (4): 106-10, 1983.
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.
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.
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.
Kleijnen J, Knipschild P: Mistletoe treatment for cancer: review of controlled trials in humans. Phytomedicine 1: 255-60, 1994.
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.
Nienhaus J, Stoll M, Vester F: Thymus stimulation and cancer prophylaxis by Viscum proteins. Experientia 26 (5): 523-5, 1970.
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.
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.
Hajto T: Immunomodulatory effects of iscador: a Viscum album preparation. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 51-65, 1986.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kuttan G, Kuttan R: Immunomodulatory activity of a peptide isolated from Viscum album extract (NSC 635 089). Immunol Invest 21 (4): 285-96, 1992.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kuttan G: Tumoricidal activity of mouse peritoneal macrophages treated with Viscum album extract. Immunol Invest 22 (6-7): 431-40, 1993 Aug-Oct.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zee-Cheng RK: Anticancer research on Loranthaceae plants. Drugs Future 22 (5): 519-30, 1997.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hülsen H, Mechelke F: In vitro effectiveness of a mistletoe preparation on cytostatic-drug-resistant human leukemia cells. Naturwissenschaften 74 (3): 144-5, 1987.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Franz H: Mistletoe lectins and their A and B chains. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 23-34, 1986.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jäggy C, Musielski H, Urech K, et al.: Quantitative determination of lectins in mistletoe preparations. Arzneimittelforschung 45 (8): 905-9, 1995.
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.
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.
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.
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this