Levels Of Evidence
Glossary Of Terms
For More Information
This complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the
use of 714-X as a treatment for cancer. The summary includes a brief history
of 714-X research; a review of laboratory, animal, and human studies; and
possible side effects of 714-X use. A glossary of scientific terms used in
the summary appears just before the references. Terms defined in the glossary
are marked in the text by hypertext links.
714-X was developed over 30 years ago in a privately funded laboratory in
Quebec, Canada, where it continues to be produced. The primary component of
714-X is naturally-derived camphor that has been
chemically altered by the addition of an extra nitrogen atom and then combined
with ammonium salts, sodium chloride, and ethanol.[reviewed in 1]
The laboratory currently makes 714-X available through physicians in Canada
(where it is available on compassionate grounds only, but not approved for
general therapeutic use), Mexico, and some western
European countries.[reviewed in 1] Since the production of 714-X is not
regulated, there is no guarantee that rigorous quality control procedures are
followed to assure manufacturing consistency and product safety. The Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved 714-X for use in the United
Before researchers can conduct clinical drug research in the United States,
they must file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA.
The IND application process is highly confidential, and IND information can
only be disclosed by the applicants. To date, no investigators have announced
that they have applied for an IND to study 714-X as a treatment for cancer.
714-X is usually administered by injection into
lymph nodes in the groin, but it can be administered
nasally, using a nebulizer, for
patients with lung or oral cancers. The producers of 714-X do not recommend
intravenous or oral
administration. A usual treatment cycle consists of daily injection for 21
days followed by a 3-day rest period. Between three and 12 treatment cycles
are recommended, depending on the stage of the cancer.
It has been suggested that 714-X is more effective if administered early in
the disease process and before chemotherapy or
radiation therapy, but that it can also be
used in conjunction with conventional treatments. It has been recommended
that vitamin B12 supplements, vitamin E supplements, and alcohol be avoided
during 714-X therapy.[reviewed in 1]
Little documentation exists regarding the development of 714-X and its
mechanism of action. It appears to have been developed in the 1960s on the
basis of earlier studies that used a high-magnification,
dark-field microscope, called a
somatoscope.[reviewed in 1,2] With the somatoscope, researchers were able to
examine living cells in fresh blood and tissue samples taken from healthy
individuals and individuals with serious diseases, including cancer. The
study of living cells (as opposed to the dead cells examined with a
conventional light microscope or an
electron microscope) led to the theory that
microorganisms distinct from bacteria, viruses,
and fungi exist normally in the blood and play a role in cancer development.
These microorganisms, which were called"somatids," are said to exist in
multiple forms, some of which appear only in individuals with degenerative
diseases or cancer. The forms associated with disease reportedly secrete
toxic substances and growth hormones that disrupt normal cellular
metabolism and damage the immune system. In this
compromised environment, cells that have become cancerous are allowed to
proliferate. It was also suggested that cancer cells trap nitrogen, thereby
depriving the rest of the body of the nitrogen needed for normal cellular
metabolism. In addition, it was proposed that
cancer cells secrete a toxic substance (co-cancerogenic K factor) that further
inhibits the immune system.[reviewed in 1,2] The producers of 714-X state
that cancer can be diagnosed, and its development and spread can be predicted,
by studying blood samples with the somatoscope. No evidence has been
published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals to support these proposals,
and the somatid theory of cancer development is not widely accepted.
It has been proposed that 714-X works by protecting, stabilizing, and
reactivating the patient's immune system, so the body can defend itself
against tumor growth and metastasis. The
camphor component of 714-X is purportedly attracted to
cancer cells, where the added nitrogen is released, thus preventing tumor
cells from depleting the nitrogen required by normal cells, including immune
system cells, for proper metabolism and
function.[reviewed in 1,2]
There have been no laboratory or animal studies published in peer-reviewed,
scientific journals in which the safety or the efficacy of 714-X was
evaluated. Results of studies using tumor models
in rats, dogs, and cows were presented at a scientific conference in 1982, and
no benefit of 714-X could be demonstrated.[reviewed in 1]
A few laboratory and animal studies have suggested that
camphor (a component of 714-X) may be able to enhance
the immune response observed after vaccine
administration and increase the sensitivity of tumor cells to
radiation therapy.[3-7] In one series of
studies, investigators used camphor vapors as a
"conditioned stimulus" to promote an
immune response.[3-6] These studies demonstrated that mice exposed to
camphor vapors at the same time they received an
antitumor vaccine showed decreased growth of
transplanted lymphoma cells and increased survival
when they were re-exposed to camphor vapors plus the
vaccine or to camphor vapors
alone, in comparison with mice re-exposed to only the
vaccine.[3,4] These investigators also demonstrated
that exposure to camphor vapors led to an increase in
natural killer cells  and in
tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells. Another
study reported that breast adenocarcinoma cells
transplanted under the skin of mice responded better to local
radiation therapy when small doses of
camphor were given by
intraperitoneal injection before
irradiation. Finally, researchers examined nine compounds, including a
camphor-containing compound, for their ability to
inhibit the activity of estrone sulfatase, an enzyme involved in the
production of estrone, which is a precursor of the various forms of estrogen.
Estrogens are thought to promote the growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer
cells. The camphor-containing compound showed only
modest inhibition of estrone sulfatase activity in human breast cancer cells
grown in the laboratory.
No clinical trials,
clinical series, or
case reports have been published in peer-reviewed,
scientific journals to support the efficacy or safety of 714-X. A number of
anecdotal reports and
testimonials have been published in newspapers and
other non-medical literature. The producers of 714-X state that they have
tried to document the long-term experience of patients treated with 714-X, but
they have encountered difficulty in obtaining information from patients and
their health-care providers.[reviewed in 1]
714-X is reported to be nontoxic, with the only side effects of treatment
being local redness, tenderness, and swelling at injection sites.
Levels of Evidence for Human Studies of Cancer
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
To assist readers in evaluating the results of human studies of CAM
treatments for cancer, the strength of the evidence (i.e., the "levels of
evidence") associated with each type of treatment is provided whenever
possible. To qualify for a levels of evidence analysis, a study must 1) be
published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal; 2) report on a
therapeutic outcome(s), such as tumor response,
improvement in survival, or measured improvement in
quality of life; and 3) describe clinical
findings in sufficient detail that a meaningful evaluation can be made. No
levels of evidence analysis could be performed for 714-X because no study of
its use in humans has been published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal.
For additional information about levels of evidence analysis of CAM treatments
for cancer, please click on the following link:
Levels of Evidence Analysis
for Human Studies of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Glossary of Terms
adenocarcinoma: Cancer that
begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular
anecdotal report: An
incomplete description of the medical and treatment history of one or more
patients. Anecdotal reports may be published in places other than peer-
reviewed, scientific journals.
camphor: A substance that comes from
the wood and bark of the camphor tree or is made in the laboratory. It has a
very unique smell and taste and is used in commercial products (for example,
mothballs). Camphor is used in topical anti-infective and anti-pruritic
case report: A detailed report
of the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case
reports also contain some demographic information about the patient (for
example, age, gender, ethnic origin).
chemotherapy: Treatment with
clinical series: A case
series in which the patients receive treatment in a clinic or other medical
clinical trial: A research
study that evaluates the effectiveness of new interventions in people. Each
study is designed to evaluate new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis,
or treatment of a disease.
and alternative medicine: CAM. Forms of treatment in addition to
(complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard treatments. These
practices include dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations,
special teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and
A situation in which one signal, or stimulus, is given just before another
signal. After this happens several times, the first signal alone can cause
the response that would usually need the second signal.
cytotoxic T cells: A type
of white blood cell that can directly destroy specific cells. T cells can be
separated from other blood cells and grown in the laboratory and then given to
the person to destroy tumor cells. Certain cytokines can also be given to
people to assist in the formation of cytotoxic T cells within the person's
A microscope (device used to magnify small objects) in which objects are lit
at a very low angle from the side so that the background appears dark and the
objects show up against this dark background.
derivative: In chemistry, a
compound produced from or related to another.
electron microscope: A
microscope (device used to magnify small objects) that uses electrons (instead
of light) to produce an enlarged image. An electron microscope shows tiny
details better than any other type of microscope.
enzyme: A protein that speeds up the
rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body.
Within the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains the abdominal organs).
intravenous: IV. Into a vein.
light microscope: A
microscope (device used to magnify small objects) in which objects are lit
directly by white light.
lymph node: A rounded mass of
lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Also
known as a lymph gland. Lymph nodes are spread out along lymphatic vessels
and they contain many lymphocytes, which filter the lymphatic fluid (lymph).
lymphoma: Cancer that arises in
cells of the lymphatic system.
lysosome: A sac-like compartment
inside a cell that has enzymes that can break down cellular components that
need to be destroyed.
metabolism: The total of all
chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism. These changes
produce energy and basic materials that are needed for important life
metastasis: The spread of cancer
from one part of the body to another. Tumors formed from cells that have
spread are called "secondary tumors," and contain cells that are like those in
the original (primary) tumor. The plural is metastases.
microorganism: An organism
that can be seen only through a microscope. Microorganisms include bacteria,
protozoa, algae, and fungi. Although viruses are not considered living
organisms, they are sometimes classified as microorganisms.
natural killer cells:
NK cells. A type of white blood cell that contains granules with enzymes that
can kill tumor cells or microbial cells. Also called large granular
nasal: By or having to do with the
nebulizer: A device used to turn
liquid into a fine spray.
oral: By or having to do with the
quality of life : The
overall enjoyment of life. Many clinical trials measure aspects of a person's
sense of well-being and ability to perform various tasks in order to assess
the effects that cancer and its treatment have on the person.
radiation therapy: The use
of high-energy radiation from x-rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill
cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the
body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from materials (radioisotopes) that
produce radiation that are placed in or near a tumor or in the area where
cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or
brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy involves giving a radioactive
substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates
throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.
stage: The extent of a cancer within
the body, including whether the disease has spread from the original site to
other parts of the body. Staging refers to the determination of the extent of
T cell: One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected
cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. They also produce a number of
substances that regulate the immune response.
provided by individuals who claim to have been helped or cured by a particular
product. The information provided lacks the necessary elements to be
evaluated in a rigorous and scientific manner and is not used in the
therapeutic: Used to treat
disease and help healing take place.
tumor model: A type of animal
model which can be used to study the development and progression of diseases
and to test new treatments before they are given to humans. Animals with
transplanted human cancers or other tissues are called xenograft models.
vaccine: A compound or group of
compounds designed to produce an immune response to a tumor or to
microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses.
1. Kaegi E, on behalf of the Task Force on Alternative Therapies of the
Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative: Unconventional therapies for
cancer, 6: 714-X. Canadian Medical Association Journal 158(12): 1621-1624,
2. Hess DJ: Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?: Alternative Medicine Confronts Big
Science. New York, NY: New York University Press, 1997: pp. 45-47.
3. Hiramoto RN, Hiramoto NS, Rish ME, et al.: Role of immune cells in the
Pavlovian conditioning of specific resistance to cancer. International
Journal of Neuroscience 59(1-3): 101-117, 1991.
4. Ghanta VK, Hiramoto NS, Solvason HB, et al.: Conditioning: a new
approach to immunotherapy. Cancer Research 50(14): 4295-4299, 1990.
5. Ghanta VK, Hiramoto NS, Solvason HB, et al.: Conditioned enhancement of
natural killer cell activity, but not interferon, with camphor or
saccharin-LiCl conditioned stimulus. Journal of Neuroscience Research 18(1):
6. Ghanta VK, Hiramoto NS, Soong SJ, et al.: Conditioning of the secondary
cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response to YC8 tumor. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and
Behavior 50(3): 399-403, 1995.
7. Goel HC, Roa AR: Radiosensitizing effect of camphor on transplantable
mammary adenocarcinoma in mice. Cancer Letters 43(1-2): 21-27, 1988.
8. Howarth NM, Purohit A, Reed MJ, et al.: Estrone sulfonates as inhibitors
of estrone sulfatase. Steroids 62(4): 346-350, 1997.