The Effects of High Concentrations of Vitamin C on Cancer Cells
The effect of high doses of vitamin C for the treatment of cancer has been controversial. Our previous studies, and studies by others, have reported that vitamin C at concentrations of 0.25–1.0 mM induced a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of proliferation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and in leukemic cells from peripheral blood specimens obtained from patients with AML. Treatment of cells with high doses of vitamin C resulted in an immediate increase in intracellular total glutathione content and glutathione-S transferase activity that was accompanied by the uptake of cysteine. These results suggest a new role for high concentrations of vitamin C in modulation of intracellular sulfur containing compounds, such as glutathione and cysteine. This review, discussing biochemical pharmacologic studies, including pharmacogenomic and pharmacoproteomic studies, presents the different pharmacological effects of vitamin C currently under investigation.