Wheat extract increases melanoma survival

Adjuvant fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) nutraceutical improves survival of high-risk skin melanoma patients: a randomized, pilot, phase II clinical study with a 7-year follow-up.

Demidov LV, Manziuk LV, Kharkevitch GY, Pirogova NA, Artamonova EV.Cancer Biother Radiopharm. Aug 2008;23(4):477-482.

Background: Malignant melanoma usually has a poor prognosis. Even with current skin cancer treatments, survival rates are quite low. Few interventions have been shown to improve survival in Stage II and Stage IV melanoma, therefore significant research is being done on improving screening, prevention, and treatment. Fermented wheat germ has a number of properties that could be beneficial in cancer such as reducing glucose uptake in cancer cells (starving cancer cells of food), increasing apoptosis (prompting cancer cells to die), and inhibiting tumor growth.

Clinical Study: Russian researchers conducted a Phase II clinical trial to assess the effect that a fermented wheat germ product might play of survival in patients with Stage III melanoma skin cancer. They followed 52 patients with this advanced skin cancer for a period of up to seven years. Patients were randomly placed into two groups. While all patients received standard treatment for Stage II melanoma (namely surgery to remove the primary tumor and local lymph nodes plus adjuvant chemotherapy with dacarbazine) patients in one group also consumed an oral fermented wheat germ product once daily for up to 12 months. Quite astonishingly, patients who received the wheat germ had significantly better progression-free survival and overall survival than those who did not consume the product. The participants who took the wheat germ enjoyed 55.8 months of progression-free survival, on average, compared to 29.9 months in the control group. Likewise, wheat germ treatment resulted in an average of 66.2 months overall survival compared to 44.7 months in the placebo group.

Conclusion: Fermented wheat germ product was able to improve progression-free and overall survival in patients with Stage III melanoma as an adjuvant to standard cancer treatment.