Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Toxicity of DCA + artesunate combination in a GBM patient

A new case report describes a toxic and eventually fatal reaction following DCA + injected artesunate in a GBM patient.  Hematological and liver toxicity began 6 days after DCA + artesunate combination treatment.

"An unknown amount of DCA was administered and ART (2.5 mg/kg bodyweight) was intravenously infused 148 days after surgery".

Note that artesunate was removed from the CUSP9 protocol due to toxicities.  Probably best to avoid the DCA + artesunate/artemisinins combination.  Has anyone been taking this combination now or previously?



  1. Hi Stephen

    Jeremy has been on and off artemether, artesunate and artemisinin in combination with DCA for months at a time with no indication of problems. Currently taking about 1.5 mg/kg of artemether p.o. with DCA at 25 mg/kg

  2. I have been on 300mg artemisinin per day (capsules) for several months, but not along with DCA. Last MRI was not stellar, however, so I don't know if it's helping or if the tumor would have been worse without it. Based on what I have read, I have not been keen to add DCA.

  3. Since we don't know the dose of DCA given to the unfortunate patient in the study, we can't say whether the problem was with an overdosing of DCA versus an interaction between the two drugs.

  4. additionally, it sounds like both DCA and artemisinin were given IV, which would of course have, potentially anyway, a more pronounced effect.

    1. Artesunate is commonly given IV, and the dose they used was the standard dose, so this kind of toxicity wouldn't be expected for artesunate alone. It was either due to the combination, or the DCA dose was too high in combination with artesunate.

      "However, a straightforward conclusion to the observed hepatotoxicity in
      the present case is difficult, because the dose of applied DCA to
      the patient was not disclosed by the alternative practitioner."

    2. Or this particular patient just had a rare idiosyncratic reaction to this combo, but caution should be the rule whenever there's an outcome as dire as this.

  5. note of caution from
    - DCA is a prescription drug in Canada, USA and through most of Europe. It cannot legally be sold as a medication unless it is under a doctor’s prescription. Lab grade DCA is sold legally online from various chemical manufacturers and is not suitable or approved for human consumption. Various online merchants have attempted to bypass FDA and Health Canada regulation by selling DCA capsules online to anyone without a prescription. This is not permitted by law in North America. Buyers should be aware that these companies are not regulated and may be selling fake DCA. We have no knowledge of whether the product being sold is DCA, or what the purity is. One online merchant has already been convicted of fraud and is serving a jail term for selling fake DCA to cancer patients.