Arginine is being studied as a nutritional supplement in the treatment and prevention of cancer and other conditions. Also called L-arginine.

What’s on this page:
Arginine restores T-cell ability to target cancer
Arginine may combat immunosuppression in glioblastoma
Surgical Preparation
Published Clinical Trials/Studies/Reviews


Source: The website of the National Cancer Institute (
One of the twenty common amino acids (building blocks of proteins). Arginine is being studied as a nutritional supplement in the treatment and prevention of cancer and other conditions. Also called L-arginine.

Arginine restores T-cell ability to target cancer

Source: Medical Xpress

In many cases, tumors suppress a patient’s immune system in a way that keeps the cancer safe from immune system attack. This is particularly true for patients with glioblastoma, a primary brain tumor that carries a prognosis of only 12-15 months survival after diagnosis.

A study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, recently published as a featured article in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, shows that treatment with the over-the-counter amino acid arginine may reactivate cancer-fighting T-cells in patients with glioblastoma, thus potentially allowing the immune system to help cleanse the body of cancer.

T-cells are the primary agent responsible for anti-tumor immune responses.

“If you take T-cells from patients with glioblastoma and stimulate them in the lab, they aren’t effective (in killing cancer cells),” says lead author Allen Waziri, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “But when we add back arginine, we restore T-cell function.”…continue reading at Medical Xpress

Arginine may combat immunosuppression in glioblastoma

Source: OncologyNurseAdvisor

A common amino acid may help restore function to cancer-fighting T-cells in persons with glioblastoma, say researchers.

Immunotherapy has become a focus of recent glioblastoma research due to the potential for combined target specificity and sensitivity. However, a major potential pitfall of this approach is the known suppression of cellular immunity seen in patients with this deadly form of brain cancer, explain Allen Waziri, MD, of the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver, and colleagues in Clinical Cancer Research (2011;17[22]:6992-7002;

Neutrophils often stop the immune response in persons with glioblastoma by persistently secreting the enzyme arginase. Arginase deletes arginine, an amino acid upon which T-cells are critically dependent for activation and function. Waziri’s team found that the arginase was not directly responsible for blunting T-cell activity in glioblastoma patients; rather, the resulting lack of arginine suppresses the immune system in these patients.

The researchers are now conducting a phase 0 clinical trial in persons with newly diagnosed glioblastoma to explore whether a week-long, high-dose course of arginine before cancer surgery can allow an immune system that previously missed cancer cells to recognize and attack those cells.

Surgical Preparation

Source: Life Extension Foundation

Targeted Nutritional Strategies

Most surgeons now recognize that good attention to nutrition, including its effects on antioxidant and inflammatory status, can have a major positive impact on the outcome of a surgical procedure (Calder 2004). A comprehensive nutritional program begun in the weeks prior to surgery and continued at the earliest possible postoperative moment is known to increase survival, reduce complications, minimize length of hospital stay, keep costs down, and significantly enhance quality of life (Ellis 1991).

Immunonutrition aims to provide the proper nutrient mix to boost healthy immune function while suppressing the exaggerated inflammatory response (Chen 2005a; Grimble 2005)…

Amino acids. The amino acids arginine, glutamine, and taurine are conditionally essential amino acids, which means that under certain stressful conditions (including trauma and surgery), the body cannot synthesize them in normal amounts; it must therefore rely on external supplemental sources (Kendler 2006; Sole 2002).

Continue reading full article at Life Extension Foundation

Published Clinical Trials / Studies / Reviews

Arginine and Cancer

Arginine deprivation as a targeted therapy for cancer.

Attenuation of the systemic inflammatory response and infectious complications after gastrectomy with preoperative oral arginine and omega-3 fatty acids supplemented immunonutrition.

Preoperative oral immune-enhancing nutritional supplementation corrects TH1/TH2 imbalance in patients undergoing elective surgery for colorectal cancer.

Effect of arginine on angiogenesis induced by human colon cancer: in vitro and in vivo studies

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