Study Finds Shark Cartilage Extract Does Not Improve Lung Cancer Survival

An extract derived from shark cartilage—AE‑941—did not improve overall survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, according to a study jointly funded by NCCAM and the National Cancer Institute. Shark cartilage has been reported to have antiangiogenic properties (preventing the growth of new blood vessels around tumors), and preliminary research in animals suggested that AE‑491 has antitumor activity. Findings from this study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers throughout the United States and Canada, led by investigators from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, enrolled 379 patients with inoperable, stage III non-small cell lung cancer. All patients received standard radiation and chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either AE‑941 or a placebo twice daily during and after radiation and chemotherapy, with approximately half of the participants assigned to each group. Compared with placebo, AE‑941 resulted in no significant differences in overall survival, progression-free survival, time to progression, or tumor response rates. Patients who received radiation, chemotherapy, and placebo had a median overall survival of 15.6 months, while those who received radiation, chemotherapy, and AE‑941 had a median survival of 14.4 months. AE‑941 was found to be well-tolerated.

The researchers concluded that this study, like several smaller clinical trials of shark cartilage preparations in cancer patients, does not support the use of products derived from shark cartilage during cancer treatment.


Lu C, Lee JJ, Komacki R, et al.

Chemoradiotherapy with or without AE‑941 in stage III non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized phase III trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2010;102(12):1–7.

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health


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