Myelotoxicity induced by chemotherapy may become life-threatening. Neutropenia may be prevented by granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (GCSF), and epoetin may prevent anemia, but both cause substantial side effects and increased costs. According to non-established data, wheat grass juice (WGJ) may prevent myelotoxicity when applied with chemotherapy. In this prospective matched control study, 60 patients with breast carcinoma on chemotherapy were enrolled and assigned to an intervention or control arm. Those in the intervention arm (A) were given 60 cc of WGJ orally daily during the first three cycles of chemotherapy, while those in the control arm (B) received only regular supportive therapy. Premature termination of treatment, dose reduction, and starting GCSF or epoetin were considered as “censoring events.” Response rate to chemotherapy was calculated in patients with evaluable disease. Analysis of the results showed that five censoring events occurred in Arm A and 15 in Arm B (P = 0.01). Of the 15 events in Arm B, 11 were related to hematological events. No reduction in response rate was observed in patients who could be assessed for response. Side effects related to WGJ were minimal, including worsening of nausea in six patients, causing cessation of WGJ intake. In conclusion, it was found that WGJ taken during FAC chemotherapy may reduce myelotoxicity, dose reductions, and need for GCSF support, without diminishing efficacy of chemotherapy. These preliminary results need confirmation in a phase III study.
Haifa 31096, Israel