Letters: Shedding some light on the oxygen-cancer conundrum

Shedding some light on the oxygen-cancer conundrum

“After reading your monograph on the treatment of prostate cancer, I have become very confused. I was under the impression that coenzyme Q10 and the ultraviolet light treatment helped to increase the oxygen levels of the blood to kill cancer cells. Now I am told that less oxygen is better, as with hyperthermia.”
-Dr. J.H.M., Ohio

The illustrious Dr. Paul Warburg demonstrated that cancer survives in an environment without oxygen. However, we know that certain compounds will cut off the blood supply to a tumor and the tumor will die. It does not die because of oxygen deprivation but because its nutrient supply is denied as well.

Paradoxically, increasing the oxygen content of the blood in combination with ultraviolet light irradiation of the blood destroys cancer. The reason is that the increased concentration of oxygen in the blood increases the effectiveness of the photoactive agent, 8-MOP, given orally 30 minutes before the treatment. Back in the 1950s, photoluminescence without the use of the photosensitive drug (unknown then) was used for the treatment of breast cancer with great success. The light therapy has some effect on cancer that is not yet understood.