Fermented wheat germ extract (Cassileth)

Cassileth BR, Yeung KS, Gubili J (2007): Wheat germ extract. In: Herb-drug interactions in oncology. Cancer Center, New York NY and People’s Medical Publishing House–USA, Shelton CT, p. 694-6.

Fermented wheat germ extract (WGE) was developed by Mate Hidvegi, a Hungarian chemist, in the 1990s. It should not be confused with wheat germ oil. WGE is used as a dietary supplement by cancer patients in Hungary to improve quality of life. Results from in vitro studies show that WGE has anticancer, antimetastatic, and immunomodulatory effects. It was also shown to increase estrogen receptor (ER) activity in vitro. However, when used along with tamoxifen, an ER antagonist, it enhanced efficacy of tamoxifen in ER positive breast cancer cells. The antitumor effect of WGE is comparable to other endocrine treatments in animal model. WGE also increased production of tumor necrosis factor and cytokines that are responsible for tumor cell death. Data from pilot studies implicates a beneficial role for WGE in patients with colorectal cancer and in reducing treatment associated febrile neutropenia in pediatric cancer patients. Because it estrogen receptor activity, patients with hormonal sensitive cancers should use WGE with caution. Reported mild side effects include diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, soft stool, constipation, and dizziness. Long term use of WGE may result in increased body weight.http://www.mskcc.org

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