Mistletoe Extract: Cancer Therapy?

By Dr. Mitchell Gaynor Founder and President, Gaynor Integrative Oncology Asst. Clinical Professor of Medicine, Weill-Cornell Medical College

Posted on | By Dr. Mitchell Gaynor
  • Nutrients that lower the 3 main cancer promoters: AP-1, NF-kappa-B, and IGF.
  • Nutrients that inhibit the main cancer promoting enzymes; tyrosine kinase, m-TOR, akt and COX-2.
  • Nutrients that convert hormones that promote cancer to hormones that protect against cancer.
  • Angio-preventative nutrients that inhibit angiogenesis.
  • Anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Reversing hyperinsulinemia through nutrition.
  • Nutrients that facilitate apoptosis or programmed cell death, a process which cancer cells have lost.
  • Detoxifying cancer-causing toxins with nutrients.

Glutathione, glycine, taurine, black raspberry, garlic, omega-3 and -9 fatty acids, fermented soy products, isohumalones from hops, and phytosterols are just a few of the nutrients which data show are essential for the above areas.

Bottom line: Mistletoe has not yet shown a level of efficacy for me to incorporate it in my armamentarium of bioactive nutrients for cancer.


1. Ostermann T, Raak C, Bussing A. Survival of cancer patients treated with mistletoe extract (Iscador): a systematic literature review. BMC Cancer. 2009;9(1):451.

2. Ernst E, Schmidt K, Steuer-Vogt MK. Mistletoe for cancer? International Journal of Cancer. 2003;107(2):262-267.

3. Friess H, Beger HG, Kunz J, Funk N, Schilling M, Buchler MW. Treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer with mistletoe: results of a pilot trial. Anticancer research. 1996;16(2):915-920.

4. Schink M, Tröger W, Dabidian A, et al. Mistletoe extract reduces the surgical suppression of natural killer cell activity in cancer patients. a randomized phase III trial. Forschende Komplementärmedizin/Research in Complementary Medicine. 2007;14(1):9-17.

5. ElsÄSser-Beile U, Leiber C, Wetterauer U, et al. Adjuvant Intravesical Treatment with a Standardized Mistletoe Extract to Prevent Recurrence of Superficial Urinary Bladder Cancer. Anticancer research. 2005;25(6C):4733-4736.

6. Kienle GS, Kiene H. Review Article: Influence of Viscum album L (European Mistletoe) Extracts on Quality of Life in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Controlled Clinical Studies. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2010;9(2):142-157.

7. Edzard E. Mistletoe as a treatment for cancer. BMJ. 2006;333.


Article written by Dr. Mitchell Gaynor
Founder and President, Gaynor Integrative OncologyAsst. Clinical Professor of Medicine, Weill-Cornell Medical College