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Silibinin Kills Lung Cancer Enhances Chemotherapy

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Integrative Therapies such as Silibinin Cause Apoptosis in Lung Cancer (LC) and Can Enhance Toxic Chemotherapy

If you are reading this then you probably know that conventional oncology has little to offer LC patients. Lung cancer is the deadliest of all cancers in the United States.  Depending on your stage at diagnosis, conventional oncology offers few curative therapies to lung cancer patients. Those chemotherapies that are cytotoxic to lung cancer “have limitations due to the associated acute and cumulative dose limiting toxicities and acquisition of drug resistance.”

While conventional oncology should be a component of your therapy it should be only one of several cancer therapies that will help you fight your aggressive, complicated cancer. There are dozens of studies that cite nutrition, supplementation (such as silibinin), lifestyle and other therapies that will work alongside whatever conventional therapies that your oncologist prescribes.

I am a long-term cancer survivor of an incurable cancer as well. I found it difficult to question my oncologist. He is a well-educated, experienced oncologist. It became clear to me, however, that conventional therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy weren’t going to help me beyond a year or two.

I have lived this long through evidence-based, cancer killing nutrition, supplementation, bone health, lifestyle and mind-body therapies.

The study linked and excerpted below cites silibinin (milk thistle) to be a nutraceutical that fights lung cancer. The brand of milk thistle that I take is Life Extension Foundation European Milk Thistle. I take this brand because it has been tested and approved by ConsumerLab.com, an independent evaluation service.

To Learn More about Non-Conventional Lung Cancer Treatments- click now

If you would like to learn more about non-conventional LC therapies scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Chemopreventive and anti-cancer efficacy of silibinin against growth and progression of lung cancer.

“The use of systemic chemotherapeutic drugs and molecular-targeted therapies in the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic lung cancer has its limitations due to the associated acute and cumulative dose limiting toxicities and acquisition of drug resistance.

Prevention and therapeutic intervention by dietary agents including nutraceuticals which are non-toxic, cost-effective, and physiologically bioavailable, are emerging approaches in lung cancer management.

In this regard, silibinin, a natural flavonolignan, has been rigorously evaluated for the prevention and growth control of lung cancer through extensive in vitro and in vivo studies. Successful studies conducted so far, have established that silibinin is effective both alone and in combination with other agents (e.g., chemotherapeutic and epigenetic agents) in significantly inhibiting the growth of lung cancer cells.

In vivo, its effects have been shown to be mediated through inhibition of proliferation, angiogenesis and epigenetic-related events. Therefore, the present review focuses on encompassing the efficacy and mechanisms of silibinin against lung cancer.”


 Silibinin (INN), also known as silybin (both from Silybum, the generic name of the plant from which it is extracted), is the major active constituent of silymarin, a standardized extract of the milk thistle seeds, containing a mixture of flavonolignans consisting of silibinin, isosilibininsilicristinsilidianin and others.

Leave a Comment:

M J Palmer says 4 years ago

This is so intriguing and pfuoos me with hope my partner has Lung cancer and 3 brain mets

Milica says 4 years ago

Dear David,

My father was just diagnosed with NSCLC stage 4 lung cancer, spread to both lungs. No evidence of metastases in other parts of body. He is about to start targeted therapy.

Do you have any suggestions what supplements should he take, I’ve read about chaga, curcumin, vitamin D, vitamin E, frankinsence oil, milk thistle, medical mushrooms, etc. and he is already taking several supplements, but I am afraid what might happen if he takes too much supplements, and am not sure which ones could be combined.

If you have any advice, I would be grateful…

    David Emerson says 4 years ago

    Hi Milica,

    I am sorry to read of your father’s lung cancer diagnosis. If your dad’s cancer responds to immunotherapy then he could enjoy real results. According to research, your dad will have a better chance of responding and respond more fully if he does if he consumes probiotics before he begins immunotherapy. Consider yogurt, probiotic supplements, etc.

    While nutritional supplements like curcumin, vitamin D3, silymarin (milk thistle, Medical mushrooms, others, have shown the ability to kill lunch cancer, your most effective approach, in my opinion, is to combine anti-lung cancer

    moderate exercise,
    integrative therapies

    and other lifestyle therapies all in an effort to fight your dad’s cancer (therapies such as intravenous vitamin C…).

    In other words, the therapies explained in the lung cancer coaching program provide you with a series of therapies for you to use.

    I will email the lung cancer supplementation guide to your email address (I can’t include it in this reply).

    Re your question about how many is too many, the only answer is that it all depends on your dad. Keep in mind however, that you will spread them out during his day- before breakfast, after breakfast, and then again this way for each meal.

    My point is that your dad will have the best chance for both quantity and quality of life by combining the best of conventional and non-conventional therapies.

    David Emerson

      Aysem says 4 years ago

      Can you also email me the lung cancer supplementation guide for my mother? She has NSCLC stage 4 mets to liver and hip bone. She is on Tarceva- started a week ago.
      Thank you very much,


Shannon Maddox says 5 years ago

My mother has small cell that is now extensive. Has had radiation and first line chemo along with Tecentriq but has progressed in liver and 2 brain met… so about to start more chemo.. she is taking milk thistle, fenbenzadole, curcumin, vitamin E and cbd. Anything else you recommend . What type is f lung cancer did you have? Thanks

    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Shannon,

    I am sorry to read of your mom’s metastatic small cell lung cancer. I am a survivor of a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. I research and write about different aspects of aggressive cancers such as SCLC and MM.

    Those supplements that you list have been researched to be either cytotoxic (kill) LC or enhance chemo or both. In other words, all good. The best way to maximize these supplements would be to use the brand of curcumin and CBD with the greatest “bioavailability” or absorbability.

    The challenge with CBD oil is that you are restricted to those types or strains of CBD oil sold in your state. All I can offer is that studies say that CBD oil with the highest percentage of cannabinoids will be the best. You will need to talk to the people at your local dispensary.

    With respect to curcumin, I will link a post that lists the brands of curcumin with the highest bioavailability. The brands are listed at the bottom of the post. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck. David Emerson

    Most BioAvailable Curcumin formulas

Heather Fox says 5 years ago

Hello my mother has small cell lung cancer in lymph nodes has been thru chemo and radiation I have told her of some vitamins and supplements such as black seed oil and black walnut would the milk thistle be a good combination to these?

    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Heather,
    I am sorry to learn of your mother’s small cell lung cancer diagnosis. According to the study, yes, milk thistle has a chemopreventive effect on lung cancer.

    Moreover, I am in the final stages of researching and creating a series of lung cancer guides. I would like to email the supplement guide to you free of charge for your opinion.

    If you have time please give me your opinion, good or bad, positive or negative.

    I will email the info to your icloud account now. Please excuse the random look of this info- I have not yet had the graphic designer re-create the guide. Sorry.

    Thanks and hang in there,

    David Emerson

mxk says 6 years ago

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in 2009. I had multiple neck surgeries. Had both internal and external radiation since 2009. My cancer spread to Scalp and both Kidneys. Scalp nodules were surgically removed. Now my doctor thinks I may have to go on Lenvima, a chemo drug to take care of kidney thyroid lesions. I am on several supplements: Curcumin, PSK (red mushroom), Vitamin C and D. I was also on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for 9 months. Recently I started taking Fish Oil, broccoli, green tea etc. It is a slow growing cancer. The growth rate is 4mm per 6 month period. I am now thinking about Silibimin. Will this work for Thyroid cancer? if so what is the dosage.

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    HI Mxk-

    I am sorry to read of your thyroid cancer that has spread. Though our cancers are different I too take curcumin, vitamins C and D, fish oil, others. According to the article linked below, silibinin exhibits anti-thyroid cancer action. I take the dose of silibinin that is on the label.

    Silibinin and thyroid cancer

    David Emerson

Debbie says 6 years ago


My sister was diagnosed with limited SCLC in February 2016. The cancer is still only in her left lung. In early 2016 she went through 6 courses of chemo and 30 days of radiation. It is now back. She has had one round of chemo and it really kicked her ass. She has lost 30 pounds and is so very very weak. We are both interested in supplementing her chemo with milk thistle and oleander and others that will make the chemo easier for her to handle and also help her other organs survive this poison. I am interested in hiring you as her cancer coach but want to understand your position and experience with SCLC. Please email me ASAP….Thank you

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Debbie-

    I am sorry to read of your sister’s small cell lung cancer diagnosis. Several things in response to your comments/questions. Depending on the type of chemotherapy that you are using there are several other integrative therapies in addition to milk thistle and oleander that have shown the ability to enhance the efficacy of chemo while reducing the damage it causes.

    Secondly, there are complementary therapies such as nutrition, again, that research has shown will help your sister before, during and after chemotherapy.

    Thirdly, I will be direct with you. I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. I have worked with patients with many different types and stages of cancer. However your sister’s SCLC may be considered to be relapsed and refractory. These terms simply mean that her cancer is difficult to treat. I encourage you to research and undergo both conventional (FDA approved) and evidence-based, non-conventional therapies.

    My job is to research and identify therapies to give you and your sister options and ideas.

    Let me know if you have any questions. Hang in there,

    David Emerson

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Debbie-

    Has your sister been given a stage for her cancer. I was just thinking through possible therapies-



      Debbie says 6 years ago

      Hi David,

      Thank you very much for replying. My sister has “limited” SCLC. They do not give stages for SCLC. It is either “limited” or “extensive”. Limited means the cancer is only in one place (left lung for her) and extensive is more than one place. NSCLC (Non-small cell lung cancer) is categorized by stages. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thank you again.


hantzec says 6 years ago

Hello, my mom is diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. She just started her Tarceva regimen. Your article is very helpful, however, I was wondering does milk thistle raise the estrogen level which is detrimental to cancer patient?

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Hantzec,

    I am sorry to read of your mom’s health situation. Milk thistle acts like estrogen so yes, you must be aware of this.

    Stage 4 lung cancer has a difficult five year survival rate. I am a cancer coach. Please consider pursuing a combination of conventional (FDA approved) and evidence-based non-conventional therapies for your mom.

    David Emerson

Mary says 6 years ago

Many thanks for your great advise
And wishing you many years of health.
Could you please advise the dosage ?
Both for the milk thistle and curcumin. My husband has recently been diagnosed with a large lung tumour. I have always believed in curcumin but believe a dosage of under 2000mg is safe and inhibits cell growth and that higher dosages do the opposite?

I also believe higher dosages of milk thistle are better ?

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi Mary-

    Several things. I hesitate to specify dosages of either or curcumin or milk thistle without knowing more about your husband’s situation. As a cancer survivor of a different cancer I take a maintenance dose of 400 mg of curcumin. I recommend you take one of the formulations of curcumin that has been show to be more bioavailable. I know that many people with my cancer take between 2-8 grams of curcumin. 100 milligrams = 1 gram.

    I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. I work with cancer patients and survivors to research and identify both conventional (FDA approved) and evidence-based non-conventional therapies for their cancer.

    For instance, is your husband’s tumor resectable? Can you debulk your husband’s lung cancer and then focus on systemic therapies to increase his chance of long-term survival?

    Re your question about milk thistle- my previous work with a lung cancer patient was a multi-pronged approach. Several integrative therapies as well as evidence-based non-conventional therapies such as milk thistle that are apoptotic to lung cancer. I believe you should combine the best of both conventional and non-conventional therapies as lung cancer has such a poor five year survival rate.

    David Emerson

Lori says 7 years ago

Hello…my father in law has been diagnosed with extensive small cell lung cancer with mets to the brain. I read this article and was wondering if you knew if this would be helpful with this type of cancer. Thank you!!

    David Emerson says 7 years ago

    Hi Lori-

    I am sorry to read of your dad’s metastatic NSCLC. Yes, research shows that there are several non-conventional therapies that fight lung cancer (milk thistle, green tea extract, curcumin, others).

    I will be direct. If your dad’s small cell lung cancer has spread to his brain then he must act quickly. I don’t necessarily mean radiation or chemo as these therapies may not add much length of life but may reduce his quality of life.

    I think he/you should consider a multi-modal approach to therapies- supplements, integrative therapies with chemo, nutrition, etc.

    David Emerson

Jeff says 7 years ago

Hi David,

My father was recently diagnosed with stage 3-4 of Mesothelioma Sarcomatoid and has not left the hospital since going to the emergency room one month ago. Previously we had no idea he had lung cancer. He just started the first cycle of chemo with Pemetrexed and Cisplatin. Any evidence you have about Silibinin for treating Mesothelioma would be appreciated.



Virginia says 8 years ago

I have a friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in May of this year. Would this be helpful? My friend had started one round of chemo last week but it has since been decided to start radiation. She will receive radiation treatments for 5 days. Chemo has been put on hold. The plan is to target the lymph node in her chest and the cancer on her spine. I would be grateful for any additional suggestions or guidance to try and help my friend.

    David Emerson says 8 years ago

    Hi Virginia-

    I am sorry to learn of your friend’s stage four lung cancer. Silibinin aka milk thistle has been shown to be cytotoxic to lung cancer. Advanced lung cancer is an aggressive type and stage of cancer. You will need every researched-based therapy available to manage your friend’s lung cancer.

    I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. If you tell me what type of chemo your friend is having I will present evidence-based integrative therapies shown to either enhance the chemo or moderate its toxicity.

    Is it non-small cell or small cell lung cancer? Has your friend undergone surgery of any kind?

    Let me know, thanks

    David Emerson

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