Copper promotes the formation of blood vessels, including those that supply tumors. Depleting copper can deprive the tumor of its suppliers.
Affordability and access
Copper chelation is also known as copper depletion. Several chelating agents work to reduce copper levels: 1Lawson MK, Valko M et al. Chelators in iron and copper toxicity. Current Pharmacology Reports. 2016;2:271–280.
- Tetrathiomolybdate (TM)
- D-penicillamine (DPA or D-PEN)
- Tetraethylenetetraamine (TETA or trientine)
- Nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA)
- 8-Hydroxyquinolines chelate copper and other metals.
Where to access
TM requires a prescription and must be prepared by a compounding pharmacy. In compounding, ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient. TM has a short shelf life, so it is provided in one- to two-month supplies. 3Mark Bricca, ND, MAc. Email communication: Info. on TM / copper chelation for cancer recurrence prevention. June 29, 2021.
Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has removed TM from the compounding pharmacy formulary, and so it is not available from compounding pharmacies in the US. Some naturopathic and other integrative oncologists are able to get their patients access from pharmacies outside the US. It is also available by participation in clinical trials. As of November 2021, we have heard that the FDA may allow pharmacies to resume compounding TM and make it available to patients in the US within the next few months. We will update the information here as we hear of changes in availability.
- Moderately expensive (more than $2000 US/year but less than $20,000 US)
- Cost depends on dose used, and it is typically in the neighborhood of $400/month. The first month of treatment requires higher doses. TM is not covered by insurance. Ceruloplasmin testing is necessary while you are on TM, and testing may not be covered by insurance plans. 4Mark Bricca, ND, MAc. Email communication: Info. on TM / copper chelation for cancer recurrence prevention. June 29, 2021.