This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the use of laetrile as a treatment for people with cancer. The summary includes a history of laetrile research, a review of laboratory studies, the results of clinical trials, and possible side effects of laetrile use.
This summary contains the following key information:
Laetrile is another name for the chemical amygdalin, which is found in the pits of many fruits and in numerous plants.
External Validity: Poor. Studies on populations in high-risk areas may not be applicable to low-risk areas such as the United States.
Based on solid evidence, screening would result in uncommon but serious side effects associated with endoscopy, which may include perforation, cardiopulmonary events, aspiration pneumonia, and bleeding requiring hospitalization.
False-positive tests are also common in association with serum pepsinogen or gastric photofluorography.
Magnitude of Effect: Good evidence for rare but serious harms.
Description of the Evidence
Study Design: Evidence obtained from screening programs and from case series.
Internal Validity: Fair.
Consistency: Inadequate evidence.
External Validity: Poor.
Leung WK, Wu MS, Kakugawa Y, et al.: Screening for gastric cancer in Asia: current evidence and practice. Lancet Oncol 9 (3): 279-87, 2008.
In this article
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
September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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