Copper is a trace element tightly regulated within our bodies. One of copper’s functions is to promote angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), meaning it can also promote malignant angiogenesis, enabling tumor growth, invasion and metastasis.
Also known by these names
Treating the Cancer
Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action
Over the years, researchers have studied how and whether removing copper from the body through a process called “chelation” affects tumor angiogenesis. Using the copper-chelating drug tetrathiomolybdate (TM) in both laboratory studies and in people with advanced cancer, researchers are finding that copper chelation promotes tumor dormancy and helps prevent relapse, especially among women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).1
- Slower PSA progression was seen in a small clinical trial of TM, but with uncertain clinical significance.8
- Copper depletion with TM did not delay disease progression in a small clinical trial of patients with asymptomatic metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.9
Unspecified Metastatic Cancer
Chelating drugs require a prescription, carry a risk of side effects and should be taken only as directed by a qualified healthcare professional who will monitor their use.
Chelation with TM may promote breast cancer stem cells, potentially leading to recurrence.13
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
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- Programs and protocols
- Jain S, Cohen J et al. Tetrathiomolybdate-associated copper depletion decreases circulating endothelial progenitor cells in women with breast cancer at high risk of relapse. Annals of Oncology. 2013 Jun;24(6):1491-8.
- Brewer GJ. The promise of copper lowering therapy with tetrathiomolybdate in the cure of cancer and in the treatment of inflammatory disease. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. 2014 Oct;28(4):372-8.
- Chan N, Willis A et al. Influencing the tumor microenvironment: a phase ii study of copper depletion using tetrathiomolybdate in patients with breast cancer at high risk for recurrence and in preclinical models of lung metastases. Clinical Cancer Research. 2017 Feb 1;23(3):666-676.
- Arizona Digestive Health: Low Copper Diet for Wilson’s Disease
- Dwight McKee, MD, editor: Clinical Pearls