Copper promotes the formation of blood vessels, including those that supply tumors. Depleting copper can deprive the tumor of its suppliers.
How do experts use copper chelation?
Integrative experts provide recommendations for copper chelation in treating people with cancer. Learn more about the approaches and meanings of recommendations.
Published protocols, programs, and approaches
Copper chelation is used in programs, approaches and protocolsa package of therapies combining and preferably integrating various therapies and practices into a cohesive design for care from these integrative oncologists, drawing from both scientific research and observations from years or even decades of treating people with cancer:
Keith Block, MD
Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.
The integrative Block Program has recommendations to people who are at different places along the cancer continuum:
- Those who’ve been recently diagnosed
- Those in treatment
- Those who’ve concluded treatment and need to remain vigilant to prevent recurrence
Copper chelation: off-label use for cancer to inhibit formation of new blood vessels to supply tumors (angiogenesis)
Dwight McKee, MD
Neil McKinney, BSc, ND
McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, Fourth Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2020.
This book includes descriptions and uses of many natural and complementary protocols for cancer in general and for specific cancers. It also includes information on integrative support during conventional cancer treatment.
Uses of copper chelation:
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer: used in the Bastyr University Integrative Oncology Research Center research protocol for stage 4 breast cancer
Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO, and Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO
Parmar G, Kaczor T. Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology: A Desktop Guide of Integrative Cancer Care. 1st edition. Medicatrix Holdings Ltd. 2020.
This book provides information on the treatment of 24 cancers, plus the most effective treatments of the most common symptoms affecting cancer patients while they undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.
Other expert use and assessments
Some physicians providing integrative oncology care, such as CancerChoices advisor Brian Bouch, MD, have used copper chelation in their practices and have noted good or even remarkable results in some of their patients. Some of these physicians also have their patients follow a low-copper diet.1Food for Breast Cancer: Food and Other Sources of Copper Exposure. July 2015. Viewed May 16, 2022; Discharge Instructions: Eating a Low-Copper Diet. St. Luke’s. Viewed May, 16 2022..
Dosage has not been standardized for use in cancer care, but recommendations are available from these sources:
See the Commentary below.
General information about dosing
Find general dosing guidelines regarding natural products and supplements in Dosing Guidelines ›
Naturopathic oncologist and BCCT advisor Jen Green, ND, FABNO, and CancerChoices Senior Clinical Consultant Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, July 15, 2019: Zinc and copper are inversely related: as zinc levels increase, copper levels decrease. A higher copper-to-zinc ratio is associated with an increased risk of some cancers, likely because copper levels increase with angiogenesis. The situation is often exacerbated by zinc depletion from chemotherapy, malabsorption, head radiation or chronic diarrhea (all common in people with cancer). Zinc is important for white blood cell function, so I (Dr. Green) am a fan of zinc supplementation.
High doses of zinc can lower copper levels, and zinc is used in lowering copper levels in Wilson’s disease. To our knowledge it has not been used alone in clinical trials to reduce copper levels in people with cancer. I (Dr. Green) have tried high-dose zinc with molybdenum to lower copper levels in my patients, and that strategy is able to get ceruloplasmin to the low end of the normal range. However, to actually get ceruloplasmin into the 8 to 17 mg/dL range (below normal range) that was used in the Cornell study in triple negative breast cancer survivors, one has to use TM. Thankfully, TM is still currently available from one pharmacy in the US.
See also commentary for health professionals in Are you a health professional? ›