Methadone in cancer therapy ineffective – in some cases even harmful

Study: No increase due to methadone in cancer therapy

In the past few years, has been repeatedly reported positive effects in cancer therapy by methadone. However, researchers have tested this man-made Opioid now for the therapy of brain tumors, and found that it brings no added value. In part, it can result in even faster growth of the tumor cells.

Brain tumors can strike anyone

According to health experts, brain tumors can affect anyone. Each year alone in Germany, more than 8,000 such diseases. Although many patients can be helped thanks to modern methods of treatment, brain tumors are the most common cause of death among the cancer diseases in children. In connection with this cancer have been repeatedly reported new approaches to therapy. Scientists from Leipzig have now examined the use of methadone in cancer therapy of brain tumors and found that the Opioid is ineffective.

Researchers have found that the use of methadone in the treatment of brain tumors is ineffective. In some cases, this Opioid can even have life-threatening consequences. (Image:

Sobering Result

As stated in a communication of the University of Leipzig, methadone is celebrated according to a scientific publication as a possible bringer of salvation in the therapy of cancer.

A Petition even called for the Bundestag to investigate the effect of in the treatment of cancer in clinical studies.

Researchers at the University of Leipzig have now tested methadone for the treatment of brain tumors in a laboratory study and come to a sobering result.

The results of the study were published recently in the journal “Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology”.

The possible effect of methadone in cancer therapy studied

The information suggests that the study is a response to the public debate and the possible effect of methadone in cancer therapy, in particular for the treatment of incurable tumors of the Central nervous system, so-called glioblastoma.

The scientists loaded for the investigation of primary cell cultures from brain tumors, which were removed in six patients.

“We have first created in addition to the Tumor cell cultures and also cultures of healthy cells of the patient, to compare the effect of methadone on both cell types,” said study leader Prof. Dr. Frank Gaunitz of the Medical faculty of the University of Leipzig.

Effective Standard Treatment

According to the researchers, the Tumor cell cultures with standard therapy in a glioblastoma were treated with: radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In addition, scientists have challenged the cells with methadone in different concentrations and were able to observe whether methadone has an additional effect, and the standard treatment works better.

“Our results show that the standard treatment is effective, but methadone no gain will be achieved,” Prof. Gaunitz, who is also head of the research laboratories of the clinic for neurosurgery at the University hospital in Leipzig, Germany.

“It is likely to also be of no avail if a Patient takes methadone. That would only work in concentrations which are necessary for the body to kill,“ said the expert.

Self-medication could be fatal

“In addition, we were able to confirm the Work of other research groups, that some of the tumor cells to grow at low methadone concentrations even faster.”

In the Experiment, healthy cells were also faced with different concentrations of the Opioid.

This showed that they, too, are destroyed at doses at which cancer cells die.

Gaunitz discourages patients from self-medication by methadone: Should pre-existing conditions are present, like a damaged liver, it could quickly turn deadly. (ad)