Possible Helpful Interaction
It has been suggested that many of the undesired effects of cisplatin are due to creation of free radicals, dangerous, naturally occurring substances that can damage many cells. For this reason, treatment with antioxidants has been proposed for preventing toxic side effects. However, as yet there is no more than minimal evidence for benefit.
One animal study tested a combination of substances with strong antioxidant properties (
) and found evidence that this mixture reduced the kidney toxicity of cisplatin.
A small human trial found evidence that use of vitamin E might help prevent nerve injury (peripheral neuropathy) caused by cisplatin, but because this was an
, its results are not very reliable.
Another open study found possible benefits with
Unfortunately, in open studies, the placebo effect and other confounding factors can play a significant role. (For more information on why this is the case, see
Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)
In a better-designed,
, placebo-controlled study of 48 people undergoing cancer treatment with cisplatin, participants were given either placebo or a combination of
in hopes of reducing toxicity to the ears and kidneys.
No significant benefits were seen.
Note that there are concerns that use of antioxidants could potential decrease the effectiveness of some forms of chemotherapy. For this reason, we strongly suggest that people on cancer chemotherapy do not use antioxidants, or any herbs or supplements, except in consultation with their physician.