A combination of vitamins C and E and betacarotene can help speed up the death of lung cancer cells, according to new research by scientists in India. A study conducted at New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical sciences showed that the combination enhanced the process of death of lung cancer cells from 40% to 89%.
A report in the Indian Express newspaper said that this was one of the first times that vitamin supplements had been assessed as a potential cure for cancer rather than as a preventive measure.
"The antioxidant mixture we used was actually able to help induce the death of cells with altered DNA and our findings are reproducible," said Ashutosh Pathak, one of the researchers who conducted the study, quoted in the paper.
A raft of other studies have looked at the antioxidant properties of vitamins, which together with lifestyle and dietary changes have been shown to have some positive effect on fighting cancer.
Vinod Kochupillai of AIIMS cancer hospital told the paper that the combinations of vitamins in high does could alter the gene expression and so prevent cancer formation better than doses of single vitamins.
He added that clinical trials of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer showed that patients' response to chemotherapy improved from 34% to 46.8% when treated with the antioxidant cocktail.