Gonzalez Protocol™: Safety and precautions - CancerChoices

The Gonzalez Protocol™ uses freeze-dried pork pancreas, supplements, an individualized diet, and coffee enemas to alter cancer metabolism and inhibit growth.

Safety and precautions

One small trial found serious concerns regarding the safety of the Gonzalez Protocol™, although Dr. Gonzalez contested the methods used in the study.

  • Higher mortality and worse quality of life among people with inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma following the Gonzalez Protocol™ compared to gemcitabine-based chemotherapy in a small controlled triala study design in which people are assigned to either an experimental group or a control group to compare the outcomes from different treatment; assignment is not random, and so this is not as strong a study design as a randomized controlled trial, but still stronger than an uncontrolled trial1Chabot JA, Tsai WY et al. Pancreatic proteolytic enzyme therapy compared with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2010 Apr 20;28(12):2058-63. 

Commentary on the Chabot et al study

Linda Isaacs, MD, colleague of Dr. Gonzalez, points out that the researchers in the Chabot study flooded the Gonzalez Regimen arm of the study with patients who were not actually doing the protocol. The researchers did not mention this in their research publication.2Isaacs LL Research battles: survival tips from a veteran. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal (Encinitas). 2015 Oct;14(5):30-2. See Dr. Gonzalez’ book What Went Wrong or Dr. Isaac’s article Research battles: survival tips from a veteran for further information.

Side effects

Side effects reported by researchers:3Gonzalez NJ, Isaacs LL. Evaluation of pancreatic proteolytic enzyme treatment of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with nutrition and detoxification support. Nutrition and Cancer 1999;33:117-124; Pancreatic cancer, proteolytic enzyme therapy and detoxification [excerpts]. Nicholas Gonzalez Foundation. Viewed August 26, 2022.

  • Intestinal gas
  • Occasional bloating and indigestion, apparently related to ingestion of porcine pancreatic enzyme
  • Flu-like syndromes, allegedly associated with detoxification, including low-grade fever, nonspecific muscle aches (myalgia), and nonspecific skin rashes

Keep reading about the Gonzalez Protocol™


Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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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 and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. 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


Laura Pole, MSN, RN, 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, MSN, RN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: December 11, 2023

Last full literature review: August 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrativein 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.

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