Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 307–315 | Cite as

Case Report: Sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) inhibition of the “Warburg Effect” in a human cancer patient: complete response in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after disease progression with rituximab-CHOP

  • Stephen B. StrumEmail author
  • Örn Adalsteinsson
  • Richard R. Black
  • Dmitri Segal
  • Nancy L. Peress
  • James Waldenfels


The uptake of fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography in the tumors of various cancer types demonstrates the key role of glucose in the proliferation of cancer. Dichloroacetate is a 2-carbon molecule having crucial biologic activity in altering the metabolic breakdown of glucose to lactic acid. Human cell line studies show that dichloroacetate switches alter the metabolomics of the cancer cell from one of glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation, and in doing so restore mitochondrial functions that trigger apoptosis of the cancer cell. Reports of dichloroacetate in human subjects are rare. The authors contacted individuals from Internet forums who had reported outstanding anti-cancer responses to self-medication with dichloroacetate. With informed consent, complete medical records were requested to document response to dichloroacetate, emphasizing the context of monotherapy with dichloroacetate. Of ten patients agreeing to such an evaluation, only one met the criteria of having comprehensive clinic records as well as pathology, imaging and laboratory reports, along with single agent therapy with dichloroacetate. That individual is the focus of this report. In this case report of a man with documented relapse after state-of-the-art chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a significant response to dichloroacetate is documented with a complete remission, which remains ongoing after 4 years. Dichloroacetate appears to be a novel therapy warranting further investigation in the treatment of cancer.


Dichloroacetate DCA non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma NHL PET PET/CT Glycolysis Metabolomics Warburg 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen B. Strum
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Örn Adalsteinsson
    • 4
  • Richard R. Black
    • 5
  • Dmitri Segal
    • 6
  • Nancy L. Peress
    • 7
  • James Waldenfels
    • 8
  1. 1.International Strategic Cancer AllianceAshlandUSA
  2. 2.American Society of Clinical OncologyAshlandUSA
  3. 3.American Urological AssociationAshlandUSA
  4. 4.International Strategic Cancer AllianceKennett SquareUSA
  5. 5.Nuclear Medicine and PET ImagingRadisphere Teleradiology GroupBeachwoodUSA
  6. 6.Valley Radiology ConsultantsPowayUSA
  7. 7.Life Extension FoundationSault Sainte MarieUSA
  8. 8.Life Extension FoundationAnnandaleUSA

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