Sixty patients with hepatocellular carcinoma resulting from chronic hepatitis C, who were apparently free of cancer after radio frequency ablation therapy or surgery, were randomly assigned to receive 45 mg per day of vitamin K2 (menaquinone-4) or no vitamin K (control group). The cumulative recurrence-free rates in the vitamin K2 group were 92.3% at 12 months, 48.6 at 24 months, and 38.8% at 36 months; and those in the control group were 71.7%, 35.9%, and 9.9%, respectively (p < 0.05). The cumulative survival rates in the vitamin K2 group were 100% at 12 months, 95.0% at 24 months and 77.5% at 36 months; and those in the control group: were 95.8%, 90.2%, and 66.4%, respectively (p = 0.70).
These results indicate that supplementation with vitamin K2 significantly reduced the recurrence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma and non-significantly increased the survival rate in patients with a history of hepatocellular carcinoma, secondary to chronic hepatitis C. Previous research has demonstrated that oral administration of urea substantially prolonged survival in patients with liver cancer (Clin ORCOI. 1981;7:281-289). Since vitamin K2 and urea probably have different mechanisms of action, it is likely that the combination of these two agents would be more effective than either treatment alone.
Kakizaki S, et al. Preventive effects of vitamin K on recurrent disease in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma arising from hepatitis C viral infection. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007;22:518-522.
Reprinted with exclusive permission from The Townsend Letter. Sept 2007