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REVIEW Open Access Intravenous ascorbic acid to prevent and treat cancer-associated sepsis?
The history of ascorbic acid (AA) and cancer has been marked with controversy. Clinical studies evaluating AA in
cancer outcome continue to the present day. However, the wealth of data suggesting that AA may be highly
beneficial in addressing cancer-associated inflammation, particularly progression to systemic inflammatory response
syndrome (SIRS) and multi organ failure (MOF), has been largely overlooked. Patients with advanced cancer are
generally deficient in AA. Once these patients develop septic symptoms, a further decrease in ascorbic acid levels
occurs. Given the known role of ascorbate in: a) maintaining endothelial and suppression of inflammatory markers;
b) protection from sepsis in animal models; and c) direct antineoplastic effects, we propose the use of ascorbate as
an adjuvant to existing modalities in the treatment and prevention of cancer-associated sepsis.