We’re busy updating our review of modified citrus pectin and will provide a rating when that’s complete. While we’re working, we share a summary from our predecessor website, Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies. The information we share here was last updated in November 2020.
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Modified Citrus Pectin
- Before using this therapy, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure this therapy is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.
- Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is an altered form of natural pectin, a soluble plant fiber.
- Citrus pectin in food doesn’t seem to have the same effects as modified citrus pectin.
- Modified citrus pectin is of interest to BCCT because of its anticancer potential, especially anti-metastatic activity, in laboratory and animal studies. Human studies are needed to verify these results.
- MCP may lower PSA in prostate cancer.
- MCP is used to treat diarrhea and lower cholesterol.
- Pectin is “generally recognized as safe” in the US.
- A few minor side effects as well as interactions with some drugs and supplements are noted. Caution and medical supervision are advised.
Pectin is a soluble plant fiber found in highest concentrations in apples and the peel and pulp of citrus fruits. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is an altered form of citrus peel pectin that is reportedly more absorbable in the body. As a result, natural citrus pectin may not have the same effects on cancer as modified citrus pectin.1
Treating the Cancer
Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action
MCP significantly increased prostate specific antigen doubling time in patients with recurrent prostate cancer in a small study.2
Lab and Animal Evidence
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MCP shows these anticancer effects:
- It appears to inhibit the function of proteins called galectin-3 lectins (Gal-3). MCP’s binding to galectin-3 may suppress cancer cell aggregation, adhesion, proliferation and metastasis. Gal-3 is known to have these effects:3
- Protect cancer cells from cell death (apoptosis and anoikis)
- Promote adhesion of cancer cells to tissue
- Promote metastasis
- Promote angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels to supply tumors)
- Reduce sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents
- MCP inhibited adhesion and migration of breast cancer cells both independently4 and synergistically with BreastDefend¬Æ5 It also reduced metastasis and angiogenesis (blood vessel development to supply tumors) and regulated sensitivity to cisplatin, staurosporine, etoposide, bortezomib, dexamethasone, and doxorubic in preclinical studies6
- MCP inhibited the formation of metastatic deposits of human breast and prostate carcinoma cells in animals in lungs and bones,7 and it reduced metastasis in cell studies in combination with two polybotanical compounds for breast and prostate health, BreastDefend and ProstaCaid.8
- Lab studies show effects sensitizing prostate cancer cells to radiotherapy.9
- Heat-modified MCP activated autophagy (cellular self-cleansing) in liver and lung cancer cells.10
- MCP showed synergistic cytotoxic effects with paclitaxel in ovarian cancer cells11
- MCP shows anti-adhesive, cell death (apoptosis)-promoting, and apoptosis-inducing properties. It also enhanced apoptosis induced by cytotoxic drugs, potentially increasing the efficiency of a conventional chemotherapy drugs.12
- MCP activates functional natural killer (NK) cells, cytotoxic T-cells and B-cells against leukemic cells in culture.13
Modified citrus pectin is “generally regarded as safe” in the US. However, MCP can cause mild side effects as well as some potentially serious interactions with drugs and supplements, including digoxin, lovastatin and tetracycline. MCP may also slow or reduce absorption of some oral drugs.14 Consult with your pharmacist for interactions and discuss using MCP with your doctor.
Pectin is found in common food sources, and modified citrus pectin is widely available in supplement form.
Although clinical trials have not established an optimal modified citrus pectin dose during or post cancer treatment, suggested dosages are listed in the integrative cancer care protocols, plans and references below. Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.
More information about dosing pectin is available from these sources:
- Moss R. Moss Report on Prostate Cancer. Modified Citrus Pectin.
- Natural Medicines Database (requires purchase)
- Also see the protocols below.
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
- Programs and protocols
- Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches15
- Prostate cancer
- Block program16
- Tips for diarrhea
- Reduce platelet aggregation (reducing risk for clots)
- Chang strategies17
- McKinney protocols18
- General cancer
- Breast cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Lung cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches15
Note: CancerChoices has not conducted an independent review of research of modified citrus pectin. This summary draws primarily from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center About Herbs and Anticancer Fund website.
Also known by these names
- Modified Citrus Pectin Power (brand name)
- Pectinic Acid
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs: Pectin.
- TRC Natural Medicines. Pectin (subscription is required): in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness and safety and evaluation of specific pectin products
- Consumer Labs: Product Review (subscription required): Modified citrus pectin
- Moss Reports (purchase required): Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
- Gurdev Parmar and Tina Kaczor: Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology
- Dwight McKee, MD, editor: Clinical Pearls
- National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health: PDQ® Cancer Information Summaries
- Raymond Chang, MD: Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail
- Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition
- National Cancer Institute: Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Health Professionals
- National Cancer Institute: Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Cancer Research UK
1. TRC Natural Medicines. Pectin. February 16, 2015. Viewed December 5, 2017.
2. Guess BW, Scholz MC et al. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) increases the prostate-specific antigen doubling time in men with prostate cancer: a phase II pilot study. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 2003;6(4):301-4.
3. Glinsky VV, Raz A. Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets. Carbohydrate Research. 2009 Sep 28;344(14):1788-91.
4. Thorne Research, Inc. Modified citrus pectin-monograph. Alternative Medicine Review. 2000 Dec;5(6):573-5; McCarty MF, Block KI. Toward a core nutraceutical program for cancer management. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2006 Jun;5(2):150-71.
5. Jiang J, Eliaz I, Sliva D. Synergistic and additive effects of modified citrus pectin with two polybotanical compounds, in the suppression of invasive behavior of human breast and prostate cancer cells. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2013 Mar;12(2):145-52.
6. Glinsky VV, Raz A. Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets. Carbohydrate Research. 2009 Sep 28;344(14):1788-91.
7. Glinsky VV, Raz A. Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets. Carbohydrate Research. 2009 Sep 28;344(14):1788-91.
8. Jiang J, Eliaz I, Sliva D. Synergistic and additive effects of modified citrus pectin with two polybotanical compounds, in the suppression of invasive behavior of human breast and prostate cancer cells. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2013 Mar;12(2):145-52.
9. Conti S, Vexler A et al. Modified citrus pectin as a potential sensitizer for radiotherapy in prostate cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2018 Dec;17(4):1225-1234.
10. Leclere L, Fransolet M et al. Heat-modified citrus pectin induces apoptosis-like cell death and autophagy in HepG2 and A549 cancer cells. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 20;10(3):e0115831.
11. Hossein G, Keshavarz M, Ahmadi S, Naderi N. Synergistic effects of PectaSol-C modified citrus pectin an inhibitor of Galectin-3 and paclitaxel on apoptosis of human SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2013;14(12):7561-8.
12. Glinsky VV, Raz A. Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets. Carbohydrate Research. 2009 Sep 28;344(14):1788-91.
13. Ramachandran C, Wilk B et al. Activation of human T-helper/inducer cell, T-cytotoxic cell, B-cell, and natural killer (NK)-cells and induction of natural killer cell activity against K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells with modified citrus pectin. JBMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Aug 4;11:59.
14. TRC Natural Medicines. Pectin. February 16, 2015. Viewed December 5, 2017; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs: Pectin. July 31, 2013. Viewed December 5, 2017.
15. Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 2010; Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Thriving after Cancer: A Five-Step Integrative Plan to Reduce the Risk of Recurrence and Build Lifelong Health. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. 2013.
16. Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.
17. Chang R. Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail. New York: Square One Publishers. 2012.
18. McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, Fourth Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2020.