Q: Dear Sir or Madam, I have a question about DCA, next week I start with immune therapy because I have lung cancer. Is it safe and can I still use DCA? Best regards, Alfredo.
A: Dear Alfredo, thank you for your letter. We are getting similar questions often, therefore, we will try to explain DCA and immunotherapy in greater detail.
In most cases, using Sodium dichloroacetate with checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab (Keytruda), atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and other similar drugs is a great option. It does not look that DCA could be unsafe with any type of immunotherapies. (Ref.)
Immunotherapy helps the person’s own immune system fight against tumors. This class of medications is especially useful when the cancer develops resistance against conventional chemotherapy treatment. It also allows the immunity to bypass the special proteins that cancer cells develop as “camouflage” to continue growing and expanding.
As the cancer progresses, it continues to develop an acidic environment around it. Lactic acid is considered an important factor in driving cell invasion, angiogenesis and immune suppression.
Unfortunately, this process disables the immune system from fully engaging in tumor eradication. Furthermore, it diminishes the effectiveness of immunotherapy. The mechanism can be seen in the scheme below. (Ref.)
It is proven that DCA successfully inhibits aerobic glycolysis in cancer. This decreases the massive amount of lactate secreted by the tumor cells and prevents acidosis. The surrounding extracellular space remains in normal pH, thus the immune system can recognize and destroy tumors more effectively.
Considering everything, if you aim to efficiently treat cancer, Sodium dichloroacetate and immunotherapy can go hand in hand.
These are the key points that you should keep in mind when using DCA alongside immunotherapy:
• You should be free from peripheral neuropathy caused by previous chemotherapy treatment,
• If you develop rare neurological complications from immunotherapy such as Guillan-Barre syndrome, encephalitis or any type of neuropathies, please stop DCA treatment until the side effects resolve,
• Avoid using DCA, Vitamin B1 and Alpha-lipoic acid during your stay at the hospital while you’re receiving immunotherapy, you can resume DCA and supplements 2 days after you’re released from the healthcare setting,
• If you’re receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy, such as platinum based compounds (cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin) or taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel) – avoid using DCA and Alpha-lipoic acid 3 days before hospitalisation and 7 days after receiving chemotherapy infusions. After that time period, if you haven’t developed chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, you can continue using the DCA protocol as usual.
Remember, DCA fights cancer on its own and can be used as monotherapy, but when it is incorporated with immunotherapy, the combination should work even stronger. (Ref.)
Hope you find this information useful.