Beuth J. et al. Impact of complementary oral enzyme application on the postoperative treatment results of breast cancer patients - results of an epidemiological multicentre retrolective cohort study. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2001; 47(Suppl):S45-54.This study involved 649 breast cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment (radiation, chemo, or hormonal therapy) at 216 centres. Of these, 239 patients received an oral enzyme comprised of papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin, whereas 410 received only conventional treatment. The results showed that symptoms such as infections, skin disorders, tumor pain, headache, and cachexia associated with cancer and cancer treatment were significantly less in patients who received oral enzyme. However, because of the short duration over which these observations were made, they are not conclusive. Randomized controlled trials are necessary to confirm these observations.
Gujral MS, et al. Efficacy of hydrolytic enzymes in preventing radiation therapy-induced side effects in patients with head and neck cancers. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2001; 47(Suppl):S23-S28.
One hundred patients with head and neck cancers receiving radiotherapy were randomized for this study. The test group received an oral enzyme made of papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin, whereas the control group did not receive the enzyme or placebo. Researchers found statistically significant reduction in symptoms such as mucositis, dysphagia and skin reaction associated with radiotherapy. In addition, the number of patients progressing toward moderate and severe reactions was less in the test group compared to the control group. Another study with larger sample size is being performed to verify the above effects.
Martin T, et al. Does prophylactic treatment with proteolytic enzymes reduce acute toxicity of adjuvant pelvic irradiation? Results of a double-blind randomized trial. Radiotherapy and Oncology 2002; 65:17-22.
Fifty-six patients with an indication for pelvic radiation following surgery were randomized to receive an oral enzyme preparation or placebo. Patients were given four capsules three times a day of the enzyme three days before radiation and finishing on the last day of treatment. All patients received similar amounts of radiation. Results did not show any benefits of oral enzyme in reducing the toxic effects such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting from radiation.
Chabot JA, Tsai WY, Fine RL, et al. Pancreatic Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy Compared With Gemcitabine-Based Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Apr 20;28(12):2058-63.
Fifty-five patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer were enrolled in this controlled, observational study. Twenty-three patients chose gemcitabine-based chemotherapy, whereas 32 elected enzyme treatment that consisted of pancreatic enzymes, nutritional supplements, detoxification, and an organic diet. The two groups had no statistically significant differences in quality of life or pathology at enrollment. At one year time point, researchers observed an increase in overall survival (a 9.7 month difference in median survival) and better quality of life (P < .01) in patients who chose gemcitabine-based chemotherapy compared to those in the proteolytic enzyme group.