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Cartilage Use in Cancer Treatment: Clinical Studies With Therapeutic Endpointsa,b

Reference Citation(s)  Type of Study  Type(s) of Cancer Cartilage Product (Source) No. of Patients: Treated; Control Strongest Benefit Reportedc Concurrent Therapyd Level of Evidence Scoree 
[8]Phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (2 arms)Breast and colorectalBeneFin (shark)42; 41No statistically significant differenceNo1i
[21]Randomized controlled phase III trialNSCLCAE-941 (shark)188; 191NoneCisplatin and vinorelbine; carboplatin and paclitaxel1iA
[1]Nonconsecutive case series Various advanced or recurrentCatrix (bovine)31; NoneComplete response, 19 patientsYes3iiiDiii
[2]Phase II trialVarious metastaticCatrix (bovine)9; NoneComplete response, 1 patient, metastatic renal cell carcinomaNo3iiiDiii
[3]Phase II trialMetastatic renal cellCatrix (bovine)35; NonePartial response, 3 of 22 evaluable patientsUnknownNonef
[10,16]Two phase I/II trialsgVarious advanced, refractory solid tumorsAE-941/ Neovastat (shark)331; NoneImproved survival, higher versus lower doses, patients with stage III/IV non-small cell lung cancer (unplanned retrospective analysis), and patients with refractory renal cell carcinoma (prospective analysis)UnknownNonef
[9]Phase I/II trialAdvanced non-small cell lung cancerAT-941/Neovastat (shark)80; NoneNo dose-limiting toxicity found. Improved survival time in patients receiving the highest doses when survival analysis was conducted, and stable disease for greater number of patients receiving higher doses. No tumor response observed.Yes or refused standard therapyNone
[4]Phase I/II trialVarious advanced solid tumorsCartilade (shark)60; NoneStable disease for 12 wk or more, 10 of 50 evaluable patientsNo3iiiDiii
[5]Phase II trialMetastatic, refractory breastUnknown (shark)20; NoneStable disease for 8 wk or more, 2 of 10 evaluable patientsNoNonef
[5]Phase II trialMetastatic, hormone- refractory prostateUnknown (shark)12; NoneStable disease for 20 wk or more, 3 of 10 evaluable patientsNoNonef
[6]Phase II trialVarious advanced brainBeneFin (shark)12; NoneStable disease for 20 wk or more, 2 of 10 evaluable patientsNoNonef

No. = number; NSCLC = non-small cell lung cancer; wk = week.
aSee text and the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms for additional information and definition of terms.
bOther clinical studies have been conducted, but no results have been reported.
cStrongest evidence reported that the treatment under study has anticancer activity or otherwise improves the well-being of cancer patients.
dChemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, or cytokine therapy given/allowed at the same time as cartilage therapy.
eFor information about Levels of Evidence analysis and an explanation of the level of evidence scores, see Levels of Evidence for Human Studies of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
fStudy results reported in review article or abstract form only; insufficient information presented for Level of Evidence analysis.
gInsufficient information available to describe these studies separately.


  1. Prudden JF: The treatment of human cancer with agents prepared from bovine cartilage. J Biol Response Mod 4 (6): 551-84, 1985.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  2. Romano CF, Lipton A, Harvey HA, et al.: A phase II study of Catrix-S in solid tumors. J Biol Response Mod 4 (6): 585-9, 1985.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Puccio C, Mittelman A, Chun P, et al.: Treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma with Catrix. [Abstract] Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 13: A-769, 246, 1994. 

  4. Miller DR, Anderson GT, Stark JJ, et al.: Phase I/II trial of the safety and efficacy of shark cartilage in the treatment of advanced cancer. J Clin Oncol 16 (11): 3649-55, 1998.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Leitner SP, Rothkopf MM, Haverstick L, et al.: Two phase II studies of oral dry shark cartilage powder (SCP) with either metastatic breast or prostate cancer refractory to standard treatment. [Abstract] Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 17: A-240, 1998. 

  6. Rosenbluth RJ, Jennis AA, Cantwell S, et al.: Oral shark cartilage in the treatment of patients with advanced primary brain tumors. [Abstract] Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 18: A-554, 1999. 

  7. Loprinzi CL, Levitt R, Barton DL, et al.: Evaluation of shark cartilage in patients with advanced cancer: a North Central Cancer Treatment Group trial. Cancer 104 (1): 176-82, 2005.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  8. Latreille J, Batist G, Laberge F, et al.: Phase I/II trial of the safety and efficacy of AE-941 (Neovastat) in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer. Clin Lung Cancer 4 (4): 231-6, 2003.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  9. Falardeau P, Champagne P, Poyet P, et al.: Neovastat, a naturally occurring multifunctional antiangiogenic drug, in phase III clinical trials. Semin Oncol 28 (6): 620-5, 2001.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  10. Batist G, Patenaude F, Champagne P, et al.: Neovastat (AE-941) in refractory renal cell carcinoma patients: report of a phase II trial with two dose levels. Ann Oncol 13 (8): 1259-63, 2002.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  11. Lu C, Lee JJ, Komaki R, et al.: Chemoradiotherapy with or without AE-941 in stage III non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized phase III trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 102 (12): 859-65, 2010.  [PUBMED Abstract]