Herbal Therapy for Brain Cancer
Name of the Trial
Why This Trial Is Important
Resin from the Boswellia serrata tree (frankincense) has been shown in animal and human studies to reduce inflammation, which is a primary cause of brain edema. Additionally, laboratory studies suggest that B. serrata resin may also cause human brain cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis).
In this trial, patients will be randomly assigned to take an herbal preparation of B. serrata orally four times a day in conjunction with standard treatment for six months or to take standard treatment alone for six months. All patients are advised to eat a low-fat healthy diet. Diets rich in red meat contain a substance called arachidonic acid, and chemicals in fat can be converted to arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is converted in the brain to signaling molecules called eicosanoids that may promote inflammation and tumor growth. Doctors want to see if B. serrata can help reduce brain edema, tumor growth, and levels of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that helps convert arachidonic acid to eicosanoids, in these patients when combined with standard treatment.
"Some small studies have suggested that frankincense extract may help limit brain edema and even have an anti-tumor effect,” said Dr. Stevens. "We hope that use of this herbal preparation in conjunction with a healthy diet will help improve patient outcomes and act in a complementary fashion with standard treatments for high-grade gliomas."
For More Information
An archive of "Featured Clinical Trial" columns is available at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/ft-all-featured-trials.