The Gerson regimen is a diet-based therapy targeting cancer cell metabolism; it includes a specific diet, supplements, and coffee enemas.

How do experts use the Gerson regimen?

Expert groups for which we found published reviews of the Gerson regimen recommend against use. None of the published protocols and programs that we consult use this therapy.

American Cancer Society

Two statements describe assessments of Gerson therapy or Gerson method.

Questionable methods of cancer management: ‘nutritional’ therapies ›
This 1993 review states “No study published in the peer-reviewed literature provides reasonable evidence that the Gerson therapy is effective in the treatment of cancer.”1Questionable methods of cancer management: ‘nutritional’ therapies. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 1993 Sep-Oct;43(5):309-19.

Gerson method of treatment for cancer ›
A 1973 statement states: “After study of the literature and other available information, the American Cancer Society has found no evidence that the Gerson Method results in objective benefit in the treatment of cancer in human beings. Lacking such evidence, the American Cancer Society strongly urges individuals with cancer not to seek treatment with the Gerson Method.”2Unproven methods of cancer management. Gerson method of treatment for cancer. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 1973 Sep-Oct;23(5):314-7.

National Cancer Institute

A 2016 review states: “No conclusions about the effectiveness of the Gerson therapy, either as an adjuvant to other cancer therapies or as a cure, can be drawn from any of the studies reported.”3Gerson Therapy (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute. April 11, 2016. Viewed August 23, 2022.

Other assessments

The 2017 Moss Report lists Gerson therapy as a “Red Light Treatment” for being “poorly researched (or downright dangerous).”4Moss R. The Moss Report on Breast Cancer. 2017-2.0. p. 3. 

Reviews of anticancer diets

A 2012 review of anticancer diets including Gerson’s regimen concludes: “We did not find any scientific publication of a clinical study which describes positive results regarding survival.”5Hübner J, Marienfeld S, Abbenhardt C, Ulrich CM, Löser C. Wie sinnvoll sind “Krebsdiäten”? [How useful are diets against cancer?]. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift. 2012 Nov;137(47):2417-22. German.


A 1998 review of diets including the Gerson diet concludes: “No anti-cancer diet has been shown to cure established cancers, even those whose incidence is decreased by dietary changes.”6Weitzman S. Alternative nutritional cancer therapies. International Journal of Cancer. Supplement. 1998;11:69-72.

Commentary

Nancy Hepp, CancerChoices lead researcher: Not only is very little evidence available to support the Gerson regimen as a beneficial cancer therapy, but we could find no indications that it is being investigated. A 2005 review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the Tijuana, Mexico, area found no listings of clinical trials in progress at that time,7Moss RW. Patient perspectives: Tijuana cancer clinics in the post-NAFTA era. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2005 Mar;4(1):65-86. and we found no current listings of studies at ClinicalTrials.gov. We consider it highly unlikely that new research will be published in the near future providing more evidence of effectiveness.

Keep reading about the Gerson regimen

Author

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewer

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: November 14, 2022

Last full literature review: August 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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