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Cancer Genetics

Perillyl Alcohol for Cancer Treatment



How has perillyl alcohol been used in the treatment of esophogeal cancer?


Perillyl alcohol is a new cancer treatment drug of the monoterpene class which is derived from the essential oils of plant products (peppermint, spearmint, cherries, celery seeds).

In rats, perillyl alcohol has been found to induce cell death in cancerous cells and to leave normal cells alone. It also slows the growth of cancerous cells. Rats have shown improvement in breast, prostatic, pancreatic, and liver cancers.

Studies in humans are in the very early phases. Five clinical trials are registered with the National Cancer Institute. None of them specifically deal with the treatment of esophageal cancer but one study is for individuals with a solid tumor for which no effective therapy exists.

If you desire further information, check out the clinical trials database at the National Cancer Institute's CancerNet site.

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Response by:

Judith A Westman, MD Judith A Westman, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Biochemistry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University