The role of the product in the treatment of colorectal cancer is reviewed in the light of experimental and clinical results to date. The fermented wheat germ extract (code name: MSC, trade name: Avemar) registered as a dietary food for special medical purposes for cancer patients to complement the active oncotherapy, exerted a growth inhibitory effect in HCR-25 human colon carcinoma xenograft, and had a synergistic effect with 5-FU in mouse C-38 colorectal carcinoma.
The product is capable of chemoprevention of colon carcinoma in F-344 rats. One of the most significant underlying mechanism is a highly cancer cell specific induction of caspase-3 mediated cleavage of PARP. In the frame of supportive therapy, fermented wheat germ extract proved to be efficient in the treatment of colorectal cancer in humans. 30 patients following radical operation were treated with standard postoperative therapy, 12 of them were given fermented wheat germ extract as additive treatment: following a 9 month long administration, no new distant metastases were detected, in contrast to 4 out 18 treated with standard therapy alone. Out of 34 patients following radical surgery and treated with chemotherapy, 17 who were given fermented wheat germ extract, achieved an improved survival rate. In the frame of a controlled multicenter open label cohort study, 170 colorectal cancer patients received anticancer therapies (chemo/radiotherapy) completed with fermented wheat germ extract in 66 of them.
Results (fermented wheat germ extract vs. control): new recurrences: 3.0% vs. 17.3% (p < 0.01); new metastases: 7.6% vs. 23.1% (p < 0.01); deaths: 12.1% vs. 31.7% (p < 0.01), progression-related events in total: 16.7% vs. 42.3% (p < 0.001). Survival analysis showed significant improvements in the fermented wheat germ extract group, regarding progression-free (p = 0.0184) and overall survival probabilities (p = 0.0278). Strong predictors of survival determined by Cox's proportional hazards were UICC stage and fermented wheat germ extract treatment. Mild gastrointestinal side effects were observed in 9 cases. Supportive application of fermented wheat germ extract in colorectal cancer is highly recommended.