Aeskulap-Modified-Citrus-Pectin (AMCP) contains fractionated, heat- and pH modified pectin, a complex polysaccharide obtained from the peel and pulp of citrus fruits. AMCP is rich in galactoside residues, in particular β-galactose, known to have strong affinity for certain types of cancer cells.
The galactoside-containing carbohydrate side chains of AMCP can mimic or compete with natural ligand(s) of the so called tumor galactoside-binding protein, galectin-3, found on cancer cells, affecting cellular interactions relevant for metastasis.
AMCP also exerts immune stimulating effects in humans, increasing the activities of cytotoxic T cells, B cells and NK cells.
In search of naturally occurring substances useful in the treatment of cancer metastasis, modified citrus pectin (MCP) has emerged as a promising anti-metastatic drug candidate. MCP has been found to be effective in vitro and in vivo against various cancer entities, such as prostate- and breast carcinoma, melanoma, colon carcinoma, multiple myeloma, and hemangiosarcoma.
Dr. Pienta and his group were the first to examine MCP’s effectiveness against prostate cancer and its metastasis. They used a Dunning rat model. The animals were injected with prostate cancer cell lines and given drinking water which contained various MCP concentrations. While this oral administration of MCP did not affect primary tumor growth, it significantly reduced metastases when compared with the control animals. Later, Dr. Strum and his colleagues examined the effect of MCP on prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time in seven prostate cancer patients administering MCP orally at a dosage of 15 grams per day. PSA doubling time reflects the speed of cancer growth, and in four of the seven patients PSA doubling time exhibited more than 30% lengthening, which represents a decrease in the cancer growth rate.
As seen with prostate cancer and other cancer entities, research demonstrates that metastases of breast cancer cell lines also require adhesion and aggregation of the metastatic cancer cells to tissue endothelium to facilitate invasion of other tissue. The anti-adhesive efficacy of modified citrus pectin was examined in an in-vitro model utilizing breast carcinoma cell lines T-47D and MCF-7. The adhesion of these malignant cells to blood vessel endothelia was markedly blocked by MCP, thus inhibiting the metastatic process. In a more recent human study, the galectin-3 expression was examined in 27 patients suffering from invasive breast cancer. This study revealed that more aggressive histologic grades of breast cancer exhibited decreased galectin-3 expression, likely reflecting increased cancer cell motility and metastatic potential.
Dr. Platt and Dr. Raz examined the process of metastasis in a B16-F1 tumor model in mice. The melanoma of this cell line is highly aggressive and causes reliably metastases in the test mouse.
Using this system, they determined that MCP significantly decreased tumor metastases to the lung. In comparison to regular citrus pectin, the administration of MCP resulted in a more than 90 percent decrease in tumor metastases.
Safety and Side Effects
Because MCP is a soluble fiber, oral administration of modified citrus pectin is unlikely to result in any gastric intolerance, even at higher doses. No adverse reactions of MCP have been recorded in the scientific literature. As with any dietary fiber at high doses, MCP may result in mild cases of loose stool, which is usually self-limiting and does not warrant discontinuation of treatment.