The Complete Blood Count has a significant role in cancer therapy and can affect the patient’s physical and mental wellbeing. Why is it so important to take the blood count into account when considering oncological treatment?

In spite of there being one common name for all individuals diagnosed with the disease, it is well-known that cancer does not constitute one single characteristic disease but is composed of various conditions and symptoms resulting from uncontrolled cell proliferation, which has many different components and causes. Therefore treatment varies and depends on the type of cancer, genetic components within the cancer, stage at diagnosis, the age of the patient and comorbidities. Treatments available currently include: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy (radiotherapy, brachytherapy, cyber-knife, proton therapy), immunological therapy, biological therapy, hormonal therapy, symptomatic treatment and palliative care.

Chemotherapy has been an accepted oncological therapy for decades and dependent on the type and stage of cancer, still constitutes a prevalent form of oncological therapy. As is known, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment which affects the whole body. Chemotherapy acts by halting cell proliferation, and its success is dependent on the fact that cancer cells rate of proliferation is faster than that of the normal cells in the body. However, as the effect is systemic, chemotherapy will also affect cells in the body which naturally have a higher proliferation rate such as gastrointestinal cells, bone marrow cells, skin and hair cells causing common therapy-induced symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, myelosuppression, mouth ulcerations, and hair loss.

 

How does the blood count affect chemotherapy treatment?

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) is one of the most frequently requested blood tests. It is a routine fundamental screening test affording a general initial picture of the individual’s health status. Many conditions manifest as changes in the blood count, often prior to the development of symptoms. The CBC is an important tool for the oncologist in determining and monitoring both the efficacy and adverse effects of the chemotherapy, and especially the effect on the bone marrow and blood cell production.

A CBC and chemistry panel are routinely always performed prior to initiation of chemotherapy in order to discover any cancer-related changes or changes related to any prior conditions or comorbidities and to help determine dosage and frequency of treatment, taking into account possible drug-related toxicities, such as kidney and liver, etc. In addition the initial CBC test prior to beginning chemotherapy serves as a baseline and a means of monitoring disease progression, success of treatment and treatment side effects. The CBC continues to be a most important tool during the whole duration of the treatment therefore a CBC is always performed on the day of chemotherapy prior to beginning of treatment to determine whether it is safe to proceed with the treatment.

 

The significance of a low blood count

A low blood count of the red blood cells is known as anemia. The most common symptoms of anemia are fatigue, pallor and shortness of breath as the capacity to deliver oxygen to the organs and tissues is diminished.. If this number reaches beneath a certain level, standard treatment is a blood transfusion. Platelets are an important component of the blood clotting mechanism, therefore a low platelet count increases the risk for abnormal bleeding. White blood cells are the main components of the immune system, therefore a low white blood count (leukopenia), and especially low neutrophils increases the risk for infection. If anyone of the above values is low, this can lead to the postponement or decrease in dose of chemotherapy, which can seriously impair treatment outcome.

Therefore this extremely common and inexpensive blood test becomes an important factor in the treatment of patients with cancer and can influence their path. Conventionally, anemia can be treated with drugs or infusion and leukopenia can be prevented to a certain extent by giving drugs following chemotherapy administration which encourage the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. If platelets are very low, unfortunately treatment may have to be delayed in order to give them a chance to recover.

Maintaining Healthy Blood Counts with Protectival

Protectival, a patented botanical formula known also under the research name LCS101, has been shown to be effective to help patients maintain their red and white blood cell counts during chemotherapy based treatments. Research conducted focused on the rates of anemia and leukopenia, and showed that 82% of patients who took Protectival did not suffer from a decrease of red blood cell (RBC) or white blood cell (WBC) counts. (1)

Not only did Protectival show that it was helpful in maintaining white blood cell count, it also showed that it allows for increased specific white blood cell activity of  t cells and NK cells. Research conducted provided evidence that Protectival enhances the innate immune system, giving the body’s system a better fighting chance during cancer treatment.(2)  

Protectival does this while also being shown to be a safe intervention to apply during chemotherapy. As shown in this landmark study performed by our team of researchers, Protectival does not reduce the cytotoxic effects of multiple chemotherapy agents. Also, the addition of Protectival led to increased death of cancer cells from the chemotherapy agents.(3)

The addition of Protectval was also shown to help set up the cancer cells to be more susceptible to conventional interventions. As we show in our research, not only does it help to protect our body’s natural systems, it also potentiates the cancer cells to the oncologist’s treatment.(4)

Maintaining the best physical and mental wellbeing is part of a patient’s and oncologist’s goals during treatment. When people feel good during treatment, they maintain a higher quality of life. Adding Protectival into a treatment regimen can help achieve the best results for everyone involved: the patient, the family and the providers. 

 

  1. Yaal‐Hahoshen, N., Maimon, Y., Siegelmann‐Danieli, N., Lev‐Ari, S., Ron, I.G., Sperber, F., Samuels, N., Shoham, J. and Merimsky, O. (2011), A Prospective, Controlled Study of the Botanical Compound Mixture LCS101 for Chemotherapy‐Induced Hematological Complications in Breast Cancer. The Oncologist, 16: 1197-1202. https://doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0150
  2. Rachmut IH, Samuels N, Melnick SJ, Ramachandran C, Sharabi Y, Pavlovsky A, Maimon Y, Shoham J. Immunomodulatory effects of the botanical compound LCS101: implications for cancer treatment. Onco Targets Ther. 2013;6:437-445
  3. Zoya Cohen1#, Yair Maimon1*#, Noah Samuels1 and Raanan Berger2 1Tal Center for Integrative Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel 2Department of Oncology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, Effect of the Botanical Compound LCS101 on Cytotoxicity of Chemotherapy,  J Cancer Sci Ther 2018, 10
  4. Cohen Z, Maimon Y, Yoeli-Lerner M, Yang P, Samuels N and Berger R: Selective anticancer effects and protection from chemotherapy by the botanical compound LCS101: Implications for cancer treatment. Int J Oncol 46: 308-316, 2015

 

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