9 augustus 2011: ik ben kanker-actueel aan het herzien en controleerde de website van dr. Carmen /Wheatley die jaren geleden onderzoek deed naar het effect van voeding, voedingssuppletie en leefstijl bij Multiple Myeloma - Kahler. Zij blijkt nog steeds actief en ook op haar website is heel veel te lezen over haar activiteiten en ook enkele protocollen hoe met niet toxische middelen (voeding en suppletie, o.a. B-12) je de strijd tegen Kahler - Multiple Myeloma aan kan gaan. Ga naar haar website www.canceraction.org en daar is een heleboel te lezen.
Dr. Carmen Wheatley is de vrouw die een grote rol speelde in de 'genezing' van Michael Gearin-Tosh met de ziekte Multiple Meyloma (Kahler) , (zie het boek Living Proof op pagina kanker en boeken, zie ook verhaal over Michael Gearin-Tosh op deze pagina) heeft een tweejarige studie opgezet die open staat voor een ieder die de ziekte Multiple Myeloma (Kahler) of Waldenström heeft. U kunt haar zelf benaderen via haar website www.canceraction.org
Hierbij het protocol en de hypothese dat een tekort aan vitamine B12 de oorzaak van Myeloma en Waldenström zou zijn zoals die aan deze trial ten grondslag ligt en die Dr. Carmen Wheatley mij opstuurde. Maar in de trial wordt ervan uitgegaan dat u zich strikt aan een dieet houdt en als aanvulling een aantal voedingssupplementen gebruikt. red: 9 aug. 2011: Op haar website is inmiddels het resultaat te lezen van die trial. Zie overigens ook het verhaal van Antoon die nu al 16 jaar zijn ziekte van Waldenström onder controle houd met alleen dieet en suppletie en enkele jaren terug een lage dosis chemo.
A Protocol to test the Hypothesis that a Deficiency of B12 is the Fundamental Cause of MGUS/Myeloma and Related Paraproteinaemias
Carmen Wheatley D.Phil Oxon
The following protocol is based on the Author's article, A Unified Theory of the Causes of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS) and Multiple Myeloma, with a Consequent Treatment Proposal for Long-Term Control and Possible Cure Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 17, No.1, 2002, which all participating physicians should read and evaluate for themselves. A preliminary study organised by the registered charity, Orthomolecular Oncology, Reg. No. 1078066, (http://www.canceraction.org.gg), is already under way with the aim of drawing together MGUS/Myeloma and related disorder patients who may subsequently wish to take part in this proposed trial. This preliminary study involves a detailed questionnaire for patients which may throw more epidemiological light on the proposed thesis. All participants are encouraged to discontinue adverse health practices, such as smoking, poor diet, high stress levels, lack of exercise etc and helped to follow the good health guidelines embodied in the "5 Rs of Cancer Recovery and Recurrence Prevention", in the Orthomolecular Oncology Patient's Guide, distributed free to each participant, and also published on the web site.
The trials of B12 in MGUS/Myeloma and related disorders, such as Waldenström, Myelodysplastic Syndrome etc, will probably be composed of two parts. Part I, perhaps the more critical part of the trials, will recruit MGUS patients with the aim of reversing MGUS back to normality and thus possibly establishing a definitive approach to Myeloma prevention, which is very desirable for a disease that currently has no cure and only rare long-term survival. The current "spontaneous" MGUS reversal rate is only 4%(1). If the trial does not achieve such a reversal, it may yet be possible to demonstrate that B12 is capable of preventing MGUS from progressing to Myeloma and other cancers. There is normally a 1 in 4 chance of such progression in MGUS patients.(1) Since, however, this progression can take up to a decade or longer,(1) such a study would be a more complex and slow undertaking.
Part II of the trials will aim to test if very high doses of B12 can prolong remissions in Myeloma patients and/or halt all further progression of the disease so that it becomes an indefinitely chronic rather than a lethal condition.
The initial proposed period of study is 2 years, bearing in mind that, with conventional treatment, still the most likely approach to benefit (or not) the majority of Myeloma patients, the median survival is about that length of time, so that any marked results should have emerged, or not, by this milestone.
Once ethical clearance has been sought from the appropriate bodies,
1. All patients who wish to participate in the B12/MGUS/Myeloma trials should submit a completed Orthomolecular Oncology questionnaire to the Charity, together with full medical records relating to their diagnosis and treatment to date. Patients will be issued with general good health advice, on an individual basis, and encouraged to follow the relevant guidelines in Orthomolecular Oncology's Patient's Guide.
2. At least one month before commencing the trial all patients should commence taking a good quality high-dose multi-vitamin multi-mineral tablet, such as Solgar's V2000, or equivalent. (See Table I for Solgar doses of individual components.) Unless they are already on Warfarin or other blood thinning drugs, other than aspirin, patients should also ensure they take 3/4000 mg fish oil daily (Higher Nature's Omega-3 Fish Oil is ideal and inexpensive). These two requirements are absolutely essential to the trial, since previous Vitamin Trials in cancer have been skewed for the want of such a base,(2) which in the presence of a truly high individual vitamin dose is apt to create deficiencies and imbalances which may hamper the trialled nutrient from achieving the full potential efficacy, or indeed may have adverse effects, as well demonstrated by the famous CARET and ATBC trials in smokers.(2)
3. Before proceeding to the trials, all patients should sign and return to the Charity the informed consent form issued by the Charity and available both at its web site or by post.
4. Since according to the Hypothesis tested, most or all patients may be B12 deficient however subtly, the first dose, which must be given in the clinic, will be a particularly high one: 10,000µg of B12, as Hydroxocobalamin, given as an intramuscular injection. This injection should be specially made up for the trial: 10 mg per ml. It is also essential that Hydroxocobalamin is used throughout the trials. Cyanocobalamin is largely inert in the body, and no potential benefit may be seen if this is used instead as is done in the U.S.(3)
It is important to administer the first injection in the clinic because, though allergies to B12 are extremely rare, they are not entirely unknown and one must guard against the possibility of anaphylactic shock. Any patient displaying any truly adverse effects or allergic responses should not be allowed to proceed with the trials. However, both clinicians and patients should be reassured that B12 has a supremely good toxicity profile and remarkable safety record. The use as a cyanide antidote, both in France since the 1970s and in the U.S., in 5 gram doses,(4) together with other notable high dose trials in the literature,(5, 6) are all positive and encouraging. Anecdotally, the 8 year, untreated, long-term Stage I Myeloma survivor, whose case history inspired the current trials, has injected 1000µg daily for this length of time, is continuing, and is alive, well and in remission.(7) Nevertheless, it would be wise to monitor patients' vital signs thoroughly during and just after the initial dosage. Patients in heart-failure may require a separate approach, since about the only known side effects of very high B12 ever reported suggest a mild bradycardic effect and transient raised blood pressure.(4) If in doubt, heart patients should be given a standard 1000µg dose instead as a first dose in the clinic.
5. For the next 2 weeks after the initial dose, all patients should inject 2000µg B12 as Hydroxocobalamin intramuscularly on a daily basis, once again specially made up, to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain: 2 mg per ml.
6. From week 3 onwards, patients should inject a maintenance dose of 1000µg daily, (1mg per ml) until such time as either the trial is completed, or halted prematurely, for whatever reason.
7. Paraprotein levels and other indexes of disease activity, such as b2 microglobulin and C-reactive Protein, should be measured at 3-month intervals by the patients' physicians and results sent to the Co-ordinating Committee at the Orthomolecular Oncology Charity.
It is particularly of interest to measure C-Reactive protein since this in an index of Interleukin-6 activity, the key promoter in MGUS and Myeloma etc. Since it is theorised that B12 can act as an anti-Interleukin-6 agent, a change for the better in C-Reactive Protein would tend to confirm this. Therefore it is also essential to measure C-Reactive Protein levels at base, BEFORE the trials commence. Ideally, serum levels of B12 should also be measured, at base-line, although these are not necessarily very meaningful(2) since 90% of serum B12 is not normally bioavailable. Also advisable is a Stomach Hydrochloric Acid level test, as we suspect most patients will be deficient to some degree, if our Hypothesis is correct.
8. Patients should be encouraged to keep an injection record and report any lapses in compliance. Obviously, learning to inject themselves may be an obstacle. But in view of the fact that this is a new, relatively benevolent approach to a still incurable disease which may hold promise, we hope for good motivation and compliance.
9. This protocol is not an alternative to the patient/clinician's recommended course of treatment. We believe it should work alongside most approaches, and except in the case of MGUS, patients should not rely on it as a sole treatment. Details of other treatment will be given for each patient at the conclusion of the trials. It is hoped that in the event of death from natural/accidental causes, or the disease itself, the Study Committee will be notified by participating doctors.
10. In the event of a remarkably good response in either MGUS or Myeloma etc patients, marked and prolonged remission, it may be possible to switch patients from injecting B12 to oral dosage of Hydroxocobalamin 1000µg daily. But this is not an alternative or valid option in the trial, due to doubts about B12's oral absorption. Patients who adopt oral B12 without the Trial Committee's recommendations will be disqualified.
11. Last but not least, Orthomolecular Oncology has at present no grants for these trials and is an impecunious young Charity. Therefore, and as B12 is a relatively cheap "drug", we are sadly requesting that all interested patients pay for their medication themselves, or apply to appropriate bodies for support. If the Charity succeeds in obtaining a grant for the trials, we would, of course, wish to reimburse patients accordingly.
1. Kyle RA. "Benign" monoclonal gammopathy - after 20 to 35 years of follow-up. Mayo Clin Proc. 1993; 68:26-36.
2. Wheatley C. Vitamin trials and cancer: what went wrong? J of Nut and Environ Med 1998;8:277-88.
3. Matthews DM, Linnell JC. Vitamin B12: an area of darkness. BMA 1979;2:533-5.
4. Forsyth JC, Mueller PD, Becker CE, Osterloh J, Benowitz NL, Rumack BH, Hall AH. Hydroxocobalamin as a cyanide antidote: safety, efficacy and pharmacokynetics in heavily smoking normal volunteers. Clin Toxicol 1993;31,(2):277-294.
5. Bodian M. Neuroblastoma. Pediatr Clin North Am 1959;6:449-72.
6. Fenton WA, Rosenberg LE. Inherited disorders of cobalamin transport and metabolism. Stanbury JB et al.(eds). Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease. New York, 1989. (6th edn): 3129-49.
7. Wheatley C. Multiple Myeloma: The case of the .005% survivor. In: Gearin-Tosh, M. Living Proof. Simon and Schuster, London, 2002.
TABLE 1: V-2000 Ingredients
2 tablets provide:
Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) 300mg
Natural Nutrient Herbal Powder Base 250mg
(providing Alfalfa, Bee Pollen, Dong Quai,
Echinacea Purpurea, Lecithin, Oat Bran, Parsley,
Siberian Ginseng, Silica (from Horsetail), Spirulina,
VM-2000 Protein/Amino Acid Blend** 200mg
Vitamin E (200 iu d-alpha tocophenyl succinate) 165mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3 as niacin and niacinamide) 100mg
PABA (para aminobenzoic acid) 100mg
Pantothenic Acid (d-Ca pantothenate) 100mg
Riboflavin (Vitmin B12) 100mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1 as thiamin mononitrate) 100mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl, pyridoxal-5-phosphate) 100mg
Vegetable Powdered Cellulose 89mg
Vegetable Stearic Acid 60mg
Calcium (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 50mg
Choline (bitartrate) 41mg
Rose Hips 40mg
Magnesium (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 30mg
Betaine HCl 25mg
Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex 25mg
Glutamic Acid 25mg
Magnesium Stearate** 15mg
Zinc (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 15mg
Iron (bisglycinate++) 10mg
Potassium (VM-2000 multi complex blend) 10mg
Manganese (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 2mg
Copper (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 1.5mg
Boron (VM-2000 multi complex blend+) 1mg
Biotin (as prep.) 0.10mg
Total Vitamin A Activity (12992 iu) 3902µg
from Retinol palmitrate prep. (5000 iu) 1502µg
Natural Beta Carotene Carotenoid Mix [D.salina]
(14.4mg 7992 iu as prep.) 2400µg vitamin A activity
providing (typical analysis):
beta carotene 14.4mg cryptoxanthin 111µg
alpha carotene 455µg zeaxanthin 91µg
Folacin (folic acid prep.) 400µg
Iodine (kelp) 150µg
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin prep.) 100µg
Molybdenum (VM-2000 multi-chelate blend+) 50µg
Chromium (picolinate, yeast-free) 25µg
Selenium (l-selenomethionine) 25µg
Vitamin D (400 iu cholecalciferol prep.) 10µg
** Unique blend of isolated Soy Protein Hydrolysate and Free Form amino acids which provides L-Lysine, L-Histdine, L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Treonine, L-Valine, L-Mthonine, L-Arginine, L-Omithine, Taurine, L-alanine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Cyseine, L-Glutamic Acid, Glycine, L-Proline, L-Serine, L-Tyrosine.
+ Special multi-chelate formula providing minerals complexed as amino acid chelates, citrates, aspartates, picolinates and other highly absorbable mineral forms from Albion process patent #4,599.152 Chelazomes.
++ Unique form of chelated iron (iron bigllycinate) formulated for maximum absorption without he gastrointestinal irritational of constipating effects that often accompany iron supplementation. Albion process patent #4,599,152 Chelazomes.
Het verhaal dat onder bovengenoemde trial ligt is deze:
A Unified Theory of the Causes of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS) and Multiple Myeloma, with a Consequent Treatment Proposal for Long-term Control and Possible Cure.
Carmen Wheatley D.Phil Oxon.
* * * * *
The aetiology of Multiple Myeloma is generally acknowledged as obscure.1 The epidemiology presents a number of puzzles. Most cancers are the affliction of age. Myeloma is more remarkably so, with few cases under the age of 40, (0.3% under 30), 98% above this demarcation line and a median incidence age of 65 years. 2 (Figure I). Whilst sporadic community3 and familial4,5 clusters have occurred, - and indeed, even husband and wife cases6,7, - to date no evidence of genetic predisposition has been discovered5, and failure to find a definitive environmental cause for the community clusters might suggest that such cases are simply random, given the statistical low incidence relative to Myeloma incidence in general.3,7 Myeloma also affects more men than women, more blacks than whites, at a relatively earlier age than whites (Figure I), and farmers more than the general population.8 A French study noted a 40% excess prevalence, age- and sex-adjusted, amongst farmers, relative to other occupations.9 Other at-risk groups include foresters8, fishermen8, veterinarians10, teachers11, anaesthesiologists12, radiologists, and anyone exposed to ionising radiation.8 Though the latter would seem an obvious risk factor, intriguingly the proportion of atom bomb victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki who ultimately developed Myeloma seems relatively small, if still significant.8 Indeed, Myeloma is a rare cancer, accounting for no more than 1% of all cancers, and 10% of all haematopoietic malignancies2, although its incidence, as with the majority of all cancers, is on the increase.
It now appears that Multiple Myeloma, though a B cell malignancy, very much conforms to what we know about the molecular biology of solid tumours, even down to the development of angiogenesis, albeit in the marrow13. The oncogenesis of Myeloma takes place over several decades in the largely silent, pre-cancer condition known as Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS), where the clonal plasma cells are immortalized but not transformed. About 24% of people with MGUS go on to develop full blown Multiple Myeloma and/or other lymphoproliferative malignancy14. MGUS and pre-Stage I Myeloma are relatively indolent, benevolent phases. Paradoxically, however, once in the active phase, Myeloma is lethal and without a known cure, with the exception of allogeneic transplants which carry a 41% mortality rate.15
Moreover, paradoxes and problems abound in the pathology and treatment of Myeloma, a mystifyingly heterogenous disease, with survivals recorded ranging from a few months to nearly two decades.2 Conventional chemotherapy offers a median survival of 18 months to 2 years. Newer approaches of high-dose combination chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant have demonstrated an improved median survival of 3 to 4 years, with 20% alive at 5 years. Improvement is pertinent largely to a minority of patients who fit particular diagnostic criteria, including age less than 56 years, low b2 microglobulin, low C-Reactive Protein, no deletion of chromosome 13 and a low Labeling Index.16 Myeloma, in fact, presents a therapeutic enigma. It does not respond to therapy as cancers generally do.17 It does not exhibit a dose-response effect; remission duration and survival does not appear directly related to Myeloma cell-kill; maintenance therapy does not necessarily prolong remission and survival duration; surviving Myeloma cells do not necessarily begin to grow and proliferate exponentially when treatment stops; and treatment can lower the M-protein to a plateau beyond which it will not fall lower despite continued therapy. Finally, in the rare cases where longterm survival is achieved beyond ten years, there is also the paradox that, alone of all haematopoietic malignancies, such longterm survival does not equal cure, and relapse is still, bafflingly, the rule.18 Why? Why too, for instance, should Myeloma show "a special predilection for the spinal column"?19 Again, the mysterious, rare but recognized phenomenon of the plateau achieved without treatment, peculiar to Myeloma, in which the disease is still present but "spontaneously" becomes inactive2, suggests an inner mechanism of control. If we knew what this mechanism involved, we might be able to access it and perhaps prolong the plateau indefinitely, as good as a cure. Similarly, in a tiny minority, about 4%,20 MGUS occasionally disappears altogether. If we knew why, as Robert Kyle has remarked, "If we could reverse MGUS, we could cure Myeloma." 21
"Discovery", said Albert Szentz Gyorgi, "is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what no-one else has thought." The information behind this hypothesis has been available for decades, and perhaps it will seem too simple. I believe that the fundamental cause of MGUS and Multiple Myeloma, without which all the diverse known risk factors8, from benzene to paints and solvents, from hair dyes and asbestos, to pesticides and radiation, may not be potentiated, is a chronic, subtle, and sometimes perhaps not so subtle, deficiency of vitamin B12.
Evidence: Epidemiological, Biochemical and Genetic
Vitamin B12 deficiency is, like Multiple Myeloma, almost unknown under the age of 4022. Barring inherited congenital B12 abnormalities23, when it occurs in the young, particularly the black young, (20-30% versus 5% in whites under 40)24, cobalamin deficiency manifests blatantly, as Pernicious Anaemia, and tends therefore to be promptly treated. However, even when treated, Pernicious Anaemia itself carries an increased risk for Myeloma8, and MGUS is frequently present in Pernicious Anaemia.8 Blacks, who have a higher incidence of Pernicious Anaemia24 and MGUS24, also have a higher incidence of Myeloma.8 In whites it is similarly noteworthy that, though lower in relation to blacks, both Pernicious Anaemia and Myeloma have a parallel increased occurrence amongst Northern Europeans.8,22
Subtle or insidious B12 deficiency, with no overt clinical manifestations and even in the presence of seemingly normal serum B12, is now a well-established phenomenon.25,26 B12 deficiency follows a discrete pathologic staging pattern, similar to iron deficiency,27 and the sub-clinical early stage can be effectively defined using the Deoxyuridine Suppression test.28 It is most prevalent in the elderly, (for instance, 50% of Americans by age 65 do not have adequate B12 absorption)22, and can exist as an isolated deficiency, even in the well-nourished elderly, due to the increasing natural gastric atrophy of age,22 which significantly begins earlier in men than women, and leads to hypochlorhydria, achlorhydria, and sometimes loss of Intrinsic Factor, the B12 absorption medium, nowadays compounded by the increasing long-term use of antacids in the elderly.22 Even in the presence of Intrinsic Factor, the separation of B12 from its protein bound form in food can only take place at low gastric pH.29 A further contribution to B12 deficiency in age may be made by an age-related alteration in the binding sites for B12 on Transcobalamin II30 (TCII), the B12 serum transport protein, which carries 20% of B12, largely as Adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl), to all tissues in the body. The 80% B12 carried on TCI is apparently not directly bio-available. Thus, measuring total serum B12 may be misleading. As regards true B12 sufficiency status, it is the percentage saturation of TCII that counts.27 In the normal elderly the Unsaturated B12 Binding Capacity (UBBC) of TCII is considerably higher than in the young, in tandem with lower serum B12 levels in general.30
Low serum levels of B12 in Myeloma are well attested to31 and are viewed as an unexplained exception in cancer. Other non-haematological cancers in general appear to have normal B12 status.32,33 (Interestingly, it has been demonstrated that there is very similar erythrocyte total cobalamin in Myeloma patients and age-matched controls, both on average 50% lower than in younger controls.34) Moreover, lower levels of B12 in Myeloma have been linked to greater degrees of immune paresis, a major Myeloma characteristic,32 also manifest in 30-40% of MGUS cases. One study cites a median level of 181.5 p mol/l B12 amongst its patients, as well as a significantly higher frequency of hypo- and achlorhydria in levels below 160 p mol/l.31 Conversely, marked elevations of TCII UBBC characterise both MGUS and Myeloma in particular. The possible significance of this phenomenon has been effectively overlooked because TCII is also seen "just" as an acute phase reactant protein which transiently appears in infections and inflammatory conditions24, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I would maintain however that elevations of TCII in Myeloma signal an emergency need for more B12 precisely because the lack of B12 is causal to the crisis. This ascribes a beneficial rescue role, and meaning, to the term acute phase reactant. If we look at RA, which itself carries an increased risk for Myeloma, associated with increased production of Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-1b8, it seems pertinent that it too is characterised by elevations of TCII and low serum B1235, that the Japanese have successfully treated RA with high doses of B1236, and other work demonstrates that, through inhibition of nuclear factor NFk-B, B12 can substantially reduce both Interleukin-1b and Interleukin-637, the cytokines responsible for growth and proliferation in Myeloma13 and inflammation in RA.37 So an initial deficiency of B12, mild or otherwise, may promote upregulation of IL-6 and thus an environment propitious to MGUS and Myeloma. Since B12 opposes IL-6, we can see why its relative absence in spinal fluid, normally high in B12, would logically make the spinal cord vulnerable in Myeloma. Not inappositely, current research into therapy for Myeloma is seeking to find ways of opposing IL-6.38
Subtle B12 deficiency aside, there is some association of megaloblastic anaemia and low B12 status in Myeloma.32 If this is not greater it may be because concurrent iron deficiency, common in Myeloma, due to haemolysis and hypochlorhydria, can mask megaloblastosis by lowering the MCV.39 Occasional alterations in B12 status for the better, (perhaps due to random vitamin administration, alterations in stomach pH, antacid withdrawal, or the puzzlingly unexplained observation that lack of Intrinsic Factor Secretion sometimes reverses itself)24, may also conceivably explain both the "spontaneous" plateau phenomenon and rare long-term survival and relapse even after 10 years. Such relapses might be expected because B12 deficiency tends to increase with age and, unless blatant, go undetected and untreated. In this view also, the problems of Myeloma chemotherapy referred to earlier arise because the fundamental cause of Myeloma persists unaddressed.
The marked bias in Myeloma for males against females may be explained partly by delayed gastric atrophy in the latter, for whom the gene is not normally expressed till after the menopause, with the exception of black women22, who notably have higher rates of Myeloma than white men, though still lower than black men. (Speculating further, it is possible that it is in the early or more active expression of the gastric atrophy gene that the true genetic link in familial Myeloma will be found. In familial Myeloma the affected children of parents with Myeloma tend to get Myeloma at an earlier age5, just as premature expression of the gastric atrophy gene in one generation leads to even more premature expression in the next.)22 Secondly, there is a life-long sex difference in cobalamin status. Women appear to have both higher serum B12 levels and higher UBBC TCII.39,40 The latter may ensure relative protection. Women are also probably exposed to far fewer of the known occupational hazards than men, given traditional male domination of at-risk professions. The fact that blacks worldwide also have higher B12 serum levels than whites, in spite of a lower dietary intake, as well as significantly higher TCII levels, attributed to a genetic enzyme polymorphism24, might initially appear to contradict my argument. It may be however that these higher B12 and TCII levels do not reflect blacks' true B12 status and instead indicate a greater metabolic need for B12, so that the B12 deficiency threshold may actually be considerably lower for blacks, rendering them more vulnerable. Gastric acid concentrations are also lower for blacks than whites24; as are their mean haemoglobin and albumin levels24, suggestive of a more precarious nutritional status, which might favour oncogenesis. Furthermore, there is the possibility of functional differences between the different allelic forms of TCII, since studies show different TCII alleles have different affinities for cobalamin.24 Blacks, moreover, have a greater tendency to form circulating immunoglobulin-TC complexes and there is a suggestion of greater frequency of genetic and acquired TC disorders in blacks, perhaps related to their higher TCII levels24. Blacks also get Pernicious Anaemia at a much earlier age than whites and the course of the disease tends to be more accelerated.24
Farmers, foresters, fishermen, vets and anaesthesiologists all have increased incidence of Myeloma. Where is the B12 link? All these professions have varying degrees of exposure to nitrous and nitric oxide. NO effectively inactivates B12 for biochemical use by preventing reduction of hydroxocobalamin, thus it can cause B12 deficiency even in the presence of abundant B12.41 B12 is used biochemically to quench excess NO in the body, thus exposure to external NO would use up B12 stores more rapidly42. Farmers, fishermen and foresters are routinely exposed to N2O and NO in a relatively unregulated fashion through exposure to diesel combustion products, also a good source of carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. For farmers the link between Myeloma and diesel exposure, established if hitherto unexplained8, is pointed up by the increased risk of farmers in higher diesel use farming, (arable, fruit and vegetable), and the risk is additional to exposure to pesticides and fertilizers8, the latter incidentally being another potential if more limited source of N2O and NO, especially when stored indoors. In anaesthesiologists the risk for Myeloma initially appears partly hidden in modern statistics which show an increased risk for lymphoproliferative and haematopoietic malignancies in general. Contemporary anaesthetic practice makes gas filtering units, checked daily, regulatory. However, the moment one looks at earlier anaesthetic practice decades12,43, (where higher doses of N2O and NO were routine), Eastern Bloc anaesthetics44, or less regulated veterinary use of N2O10,11, the risk seems more apparent, and may arise in particular because, as with farmers, inactivation of B12 is coupled with exposure to known mutagens and possible carcinogens, in other anaesthetic gases; i..e. exposure minus protection.
In a way the B12 deficiency hypothesis may also explain Myeloma's relatively low incidence. Raised homocysteine is a corollary of B12 deficiency, particularly if folate and B6 are also low. This being a major cardio-vascular risk factor, a substantial proportion of the elderly will die of heart disease, the West's greatest killer, as well as of "old age", other cancers etc. The Mayo Clinic's large study of MGUS patients over 3 decades seems to make the point: whilst 25% developed Myeloma, and other blood cancers, 52% died14, of mixed causes including heart disease. Thus the true potential of MGUS for Myeloma was not revealed. Perhaps it is those relatively well nourished persons with chronic, subtle B12 deficiency, and thus relatively mild hyperhomocysteinaemia, whether or not they have past exposure to known risk factors, who linger on to run a small but increasing risk of Myeloma. Perhaps this explains the raised risk for teachers and clerical workers11. By age 95 anyway the incidence of MGUS is 19%. Fortunately, by then, death usually intervenes.
B12, the Second Secret of Life?
Every DNA synthesizing cell in the body contains receptors for TCII, the B12 transport protein22. B12 is nature's most complex non-polymer molecule, the most complex of the vitamins and enzymatic co-factors known to date44, and the oldest known in life forms40, "conjectured to have been part of the very beginning of metabolism as we know it today."45 B12's coenzyme AdoCbl's, remarkable chemical and biological reactivity lies in a unique, water-soluble, covalent carbon-cobalt bond. This renders B12 one of the most potent physiological compounds, with a daily requirement of only 1µg in health. Modest as this seems, the role of B12 is to protect every major organ and system in the body. As a methyl donor, it reduces homocysteine to methionine40, thus protecting the heart and circulation. With major stores in the liver, B12, like glutathione with which it shares a low molecular weight and ubiquity, protects that organ from the toxins it must continually deal with40. The stomach, normally viewed as just a transit station for B12, may be equally dependent, since B12 deficiency in Pernicious Anaemia is correlated with a 3-fold increase in carcinoma of the stomach46. High kidney stores of B12 which protect the renal tubules, (and might conceivably have some role in the kidney's production of erythropoietin), are ensured by megalin, an endocytosis mediating membrane protein and member of the lipoprotein receptor gene family, also expressed in varying absorptive epithelia, such as the CNS ependyma, inner ear and lung epithelia47. A further receptor protein has recently been identified that appears to ensure high concentrations of B12 in the adrenals47. B12 protects the integrity of the brain and central nervous system, as the neuropathies and dementias of deficiency demonstrate22,48. Through its co-enzyme, AdoCbl, which mediates the isomerization of methylmalonyl Co-A to Succinyl Co-A, B12 affects a critical point in the Krebs or Tricarboxylic Acid cycle, since succinyl Co-A represents a metabolic branch point wherein intermediates may enter or exit the cycle, leading ultimately to the release of Adenosine Triphosphate.49 In other words, B12 is critical to the release of cellular energy, which is decreased in cancer. Thus a deficiency of B12 may accelerate the course of cancer, an acceleration characteristic of Myeloma in its active phase. B12 is essential for effective haematopoiesis: it protects the marrow from deranged DNA synthesis45,50,51, megaloblastic erythropoiesis and associated erythroid hypoplasia52. Additionally, I would suggest that, by tightly regulating IL-6, B12 safeguards the marrow from clonal plasma cell expansion or Myeloma. Animal experiments with exposure to nitrous oxide, which inactivates B12, have also demonstrated haematologic depression occurring at the level of the haematopoietic stem cell53. Since Myeloma is now thought to evolve from a haematopoietic stem cell54, such depression, though milder in mild B12 deficiency states, might if persistent be very relevant to the haematopoietic stem cell's susceptibility to malignancy. The prior observation of increased immune paresis with greater occurrence of B12 deficiency in Myeloma may also be pertinent to oncogenesis. (The proverbial immunity lowering effects of anaesthesia may well be due principally to B12 inactivation by N2O). By polyglutamating folate, B12 traps folate within the cell50, thus ensuring good DNA methylation, - hypomethylation being linked to oncogenesis45. B12 may play an indirect role in cell growth and differentiation, vital in cancer chemoprevention, since it enhances tissue deposition of Vitamin A, itself a growth regulator and differentiator, by enhancing betacarotene absorption and its conversion to Vitamin A. B12 may also play an oncogene regulatory role via its relationship to the production of the leucine-zipper motif of certain regulatory proteins, (the transcription factors Myc, Jun and Fos, Myc being relevant as expression of its close relative c-myc is amplified in Myeloma54,55.) B12 is apparently required for the isomerization of the branched chain amino acid b-leucine to leucine56, which in turn contributes to the leucine-zipper motif. In B12 deficiency b-leucine is elevated and leucine is low56. The consequence may be mutations and disregulation of the regulatory oncogene protein: end result, a transformed cell. Though it is unclear at what stage c-myc is activated in Myeloma, it plays a central role in controlling proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis52. Interestingly, there is a suggestion that the c-myc ligand up-regulates TC gene expression in Myeloma, and various haematological malignancies40. This might be an attempt at self-correction.
Finally, if cancer is, amongst other things, the result of a radical loss of balance in the Redox equation, B12 may be one of the body's greatest weapons in preventing or redressing this state, as its coenzyme AdoCbl may be the non plus ultra of antioxidants. A notable B12 chemist has found evidence pointing to the possibility that AdoCbl dependent enzymes may alternate between serving as "ultimate radical cages" and "ultimate radical traps".57 An index of this effect might be seen in various trials on squamous metaplasia in chronic smokers. A double-blind trial using B12 and folate, or placebo, showed significantly higher responses in atypia with B12 than did trials with various retinoids58.
Testing the Hypothesis
If this hypothesis is correct, then it should be theoretically possible to reverse MGUS, and thus prevent Myeloma, or even perhaps just prevent Myeloma, by the administration over time of large doses of intravenous B12, as hydroxocobalamin. (Cyanocobalamin, being metabolically rather inactive, is not the cobalamin of choice.59) The correct dose and schedule may be a matter for empirical experimentation. Since one is treating a disease, as well as a deficiency, it might take many months, even years, to take effect, and/or dose adjustments upwards. Titrating dose and schedule to an arbitrary low or short-term ceiling may be counter-productive. Nor, as indicated earlier, is the actual B12 serum status of MGUS patients necessarily a guide, unless you measure the percentage B12 saturation of TCII, and even then you must remember we are looking for a subtle, pre-clinical, chronic deficiency. Linus Pauling believed one could use B12 in megadoses60, like his beloved Vitamin C, and indeed B12 has a consummately safe toxicity profile. In the treatment of congenital TCII deficiencies, serum levels have been kept as high as 10,000 µg/ml or more, with no ill effects23. B12 as hydroxocobalamin has been routinely used in France since the 1970s as an antidote to cyanide poisoning, requiring 5 grams intravenously at a time61. The FDA has also given B12 orphan drug status for this purpose60. Most tellingly perhaps, a major trial of B12 for the treatment of neuroblastoma (with over 50% regression rates,) was undertaken in children at Great Ormond Street in the 1950s62. The children, in the absence of any other treatment, were given 1000 µg every other day for 2 years or more, and many lives were considerably extended, by up to 8 years. Since B12 is not strictly speaking a drug, and does not act in isolation, the inappropriate drugs testing paradigm should be abandoned63. It is essential to ensure good nutritional support for its maximum efficacy by the administration of a high dose multi-vitamin multi mineral formula alongside a healthy diet63, high in Omega-3 fatty acids. This should be begun at least 1 month before B12 therapy.
It is probably unrealistic to assume that B12 alone will cure Myeloma itself directly. It is nevertheless possible that continuous B12 therapy, at 1000 µg daily, may control Myeloma indefinitely and render it a chronic and no longer lethal disease. This should work without conventional treatment, though it would complement biphosphonates which have some anti IL-6 action. But there is no reason why it should not be tried alongside or post-chemotherapy. I doubt whether B12 will, in popular scientific parlance, "feed the cancer", though there is a school of thought that espouses this view64, citing increased B12 turnover in cancer as related to the need for more methyl donors and C1 units for increased nucleotide synthesis. I believe the opposite is true, in part because other, non-haematologic cancers do not appear to have increased B12 turnover, and because B12 blocks both IL-1b and IL-6 which really does feed Myeloma, and may also down-regulate expression of c-myc, all with no side effects. This contention, and indeed this hypothesis, is based on my experience of and involvement with the case of an 8 year survivor of Myeloma, who eschewed chemotherapy in favour of the Gerson Therapy allied to "orthomolecular" approaches65. Following an empirical observation of Max Gerson that Myeloma and the leukaemias require more B12 than other cancers66, and my own basic observation that the patient's slightly raised MCV implied a need for B12, in an attempt to ameliorate the patient's anaemia65, I proposed to his GP that he should allow the patient to inject 1000 µg daily. The patient, initially diagnosed as Stage I Multiple Myeloma, has now done this for 8 years, and is alive, well and in remission. This may prove nothing. At the least it may suggest B12 does not kill Myeloma patients. Further, raised MCVs indicating a need for B12 are not uncommon in Myeloma32. This may be another aetiological pointer that has been overlooked.
If this hypothesis is tested and proved, I would also venture that it might hold good for related haematological conditions, such as Waldenstrom's Macro-globulinaemia, which also demonstrates raised TCII levels; amyloidosis and heavy chain diseases in general; other paraproteinaemias; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, which like Myeloma is a clonal proliferation, sharing deletion of 13q14, the retinoblastoma gene, a remarkably similar age of onset and MGUS association; chronic neutrophilic leukaemia, which also has a MGUS connection; possibly even the lymphomas. It is noteworthy, for example, that low B12 is a poor prognostic factor in AIDS67, a condition peculiarly prone to the lymphomas. Is this just a coincidence? Is this hypothesis just a series of coincidences? Of course, many correlations can lack causality. I have tried to link them nonetheless. The wider implications should now be explored. Myeloma remains unyielding, and the field is short of therapeutic ideas.
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