Cesium Chloride

Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More
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Cesium Chloride

Common Names

  • High pH therapy

For Patients & Caregivers

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.


How It Works

There is no evidence to support use of cesium chloride as a cancer treatment.

Cesium chloride is promoted as an alternative cancer treatment. Supporters claim that cesium neutralizes toxins produced by tumor cells and prevents them from dividing. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Cesium taken orally is known to cause diarrhea, nausea, loss of potassium, and irregular heartbeat.

Purported Uses and Benefits
  • Cancer treatment
    A case series of patients with metastatic cancers showed that only half of patients who used a cesium-based regimen survived after 1 year. In addition, one-quarter died within the first 2 weeks, suggesting the treatment is highly toxic.
Patient Warnings
  • The US Food and Drug Administration classified cesium chloride as a “bulk drug substance” that poses a significant safety risk in compounding medications. It also issued a warning to avoid using dietary supplements containing cesium chloride or any other cesium salt due to significant safety risks, including heart toxicity and potential death.
Do Not Take If
  • You are taking corticosteroids: Both cesium and corticosteroids cause loss of potassium and the combined effects may be serious.
  • You taking certain diuretics: The combination of cesium and diuretics may severely reduce serum potassium levels.
Side Effects

The following adverse effects have occurred in several cancer patients after treatment with cesium chloride:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart rhythm disorder
  • Fainting
  • Low potassium levels
  • Urinary potassium wasting
  • Seizure, death
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For Healthcare Professionals

Clinical Summary

Cesium is an alkali metal, the radioactive isotope (Cesium 137) of which is employed in radiation therapy. Cesium chloride, a non-radioactive salt, is promoted as an alternative cancer treatment. Also known as “high pH therapy,” it is based on findings that cancer cells have an affinity for cesium ions (1). Proponents claim that elevated cellular pH following cesium uptake prevents cancer cell division and neutralizes toxins, but there are no data to substantiate these claims. In a case series, only half of patients with terminal cancer who used a cesium-based regimen survived after 1 year, and one-quarter died within the first 2 weeks, suggesting the treatment is highly toxic (2).

Reported adverse effects of cesium chloride intake include syncope, hypokalemia, diarrhea, and ventricular tachycardia with prolonged QT interval (3) (4).

Purported Uses and Benefits
  • Cancer treatment
Mechanism of Action

Proponents of cesium chloride therapy claim that it exerts antitumor effects by increasing the intracellular pH of tumor cells. The resulting alkaline environment is thought to prevent cancer cells from undergoing mitosis eventually resulting in cell death. Cesium causes hypokalemia by inhibiting potassium channels used for absorption of dietary potassium and for re-absorption of renal potassium. Cesium may also cause hypokalemia indirectly via loss of potassium due to repetitive diarrhea (5). Intravenous administration of cesium has been shown to cause arrhythmias in animal models (4).

Warnings
  • The US Food and Drug Administration classified cesium chloride as a “bulk drug substance” that poses a significant safety risk in compounding medications (13). It also issued a warning to avoid using dietary supplements containing cesium chloride or any other cesium salt due to significant safety risks, including heart toxicity and potential death (14).
Adverse Reactions

The following adverse effects have occurred in several cancer patients after treatment with cesium chloride:

Herb-Drug Interactions

Cesium use causes hypokalemia, which may be exacerbated when taken with drugs such as diuretics and corticosteroids that reduce serum potassium levels (2).

References
  1. Brewer AK. The high pH therapy for cancer tests on mice and humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1984; 21 Suppl 1:1-5.
  2. Sartori HE. Cesium therapy in cancer patients. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1984; 21 Suppl 1:11-13.
  3. Dalal AK, Harding JD, Verdino RJ. Acquired long QT syndrome and monomorphic ventricular tachycardia after alternative treatment with cesium chloride for brain cancer. Mayo Clin Proc 2004; 79(8):1065-1069.
  4. Jones DL, Petrie JP, Li HG. Spontaneous, electrically, and cesium chloride induced arrhythmia and afterdepolarizations in the rapidly paced dog heart. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2001; 24(4 Pt 1):474-485.
  5. Lyon AW, Mayhew WJ. Cesium toxicity: a case of self-treatment by alternate therapy gone awry. Ther Drug Monit 2003; 25(1):114-116.
  6. Centeno JA, et al. Blood and tissue concentration of cesium after exposure to cesium chloride: a report of two cases. Biol Trace Elem Res 2003; 94(2):97-104.
  7. Low JC, Wasan KM, Fazli L, et al. Assessing the therapeutic and toxicological effects of cesium chloride following administration to nude mice bearing PC-3 or LNCaP prostate cancer xenografts. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2007;60:821-829.
  8. O’Brien CE, Harik N, James LP, et al. Cesium-induced QT-interval prolongation in an adolescent. Pharmacotherapy. 2008 Aug;28(8):1059-65. Review.
  9. Wiens M, Gordon W, Baulcomb D, et al. Cesium chloride-induced torsades de pointes. Can J Cardiol. 2009 Sep;25(9):e329-31.
  10. Chan CK, Chan MH, Tse ML, et al. Life-threatening Torsades de Pointes resulting from “natural” cancer treatment. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2009 Jul;47(6):592-4.
  11. Khangure SR, Williams ES, Welman CJ. CT brain findings in a patient with elevated brain cesium levels.Neuroradiol J. 2013 Dec;26(6):607-9.
  12. Sessions D, Heard K, Kosnett M. Fatal cesium chloride toxicity after alternative cancer treatment. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Dec;19(12):973-5.
  13. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA alerts health care professionals of significant safety risks associated with cesium chloride. July 23, 2018. Accessed June 30, 2022.
  14. US Food and Drug Administration. Public Health Alert Concerning Dietary Supplements Containing Cesium Salts. February 5, 2020. Accessed June 30, 2022.
  15. Horn S, Naidus E, Alper SL, Danziger J. Cesium-associated hypokalemia successfully treated with amiloride. Clin Kidney J. 2015 Jun;8(3):335-8.
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