ON SEPT 27, 1978, Arthur Upton, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), announced that the NCI would conduct a clinical trial of laetrile in 150 to 300 patients with terminal cancer. This COMMENTARY reviews some of the background and implications of this decision as I see them.
The NCI Laetrile Review1
This was a review of cases thought to have shown objective benefit from use of laetrile. The case reports were obtained by mailing requests to 385,000 physicians and 70,000 other health proponents and by direct contact with pro-laetrile groups. Only 93 cancer cases were submitted for evaluation, and 26 of these were rejected because of incomplete data. A panel (names listed in review) judged six of the remaining 67 patients to have responded (two completely and four partially). One of 24 "no treatment" control patients showed a partial response. The authors warn that "submission of incorrect