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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Modified Citrus Pectin, Dogs, and Cancer

Updated: October 6th, 2021


Modified citrus pectin, dogs, and cancer: This inexpensive, easy to give food product may offer powerful benefits to dogs with cancer.

I’ve been telling readers for years that modified citrus pectin can help dogs with cancer, and mainstream outlets are beginning to see the connection, too. I am convinced that this little food-based supplement has been helping readers of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide ever since we first introduced it in 2008.

What is Modified Citrus Pectin?

Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a type of pectin which is extracted from the peels of citrus fruit.  Regular pectin will be familiar to bakers, because it is used widely in preparation of food, often to thicken jams and jellies or in pastries.  It is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, and so has a very low risk of bad reactions. It’s safe to give your dog, because it’s basically, food.

Now, modified citrus pectin has been treated before packaging it, to make sure that it avoids the digestive system and gets into the bloodstream.  Giving regular pectin to your dog wouldn’t be very helpful, because very little is absorbed when it is taken by mouth. Modified citrus pectin, on the other hand, gets right into the bloodstream, where it can go to work.

What Does Modified Citrus Pectin Do?

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) can be really, really helpful at slowing or preventing metastasis.

For example, in one experiment, mice with breast and colon cancer cells were fed MCP by mouth and experienced slowed tumor growth and less tumor spread.

In another, men with prostate cancer showed improvements in their cancer markers when taking MCP.  This is great news!

A nice publication out of Columbia University discusses MCP’s anti-cancer action in cells and in living bodies against breast carcinoma, melanoma, multiple myeloma, and hemangiosarcoma.

MCP works by binding to (blocking) a molecule found in cancer cells called galectin-3. Galectin-3 is like a lock, and MCP is like a key that fits into that lock. Blocking galectin-3 is a good idea in dog cancer, because galectin-3 helps cancer cells in the following ways:

  1. Galectin-3 aids cancer cells in attaching to things, which helps them spread. If you ever look at an image of a tumor and see tentacles branching out from the tumor, those tentacles are helped by galectin-3.
  2. Galectin-3 seems to play a role in the lack of death in cancer cells.  As you know if you’ve read my book, cancer cells all manage to avoid apoptosis, the natural process where cells are supposed to end their own life when they are old, damaged, diseased, and so on. Avoiding apoptosis is how cancers become immortal, keep invading and dividing…at the expense of the rest of the body.  Galectin-3 is one of the molecules cancer cells use to avoid apoptosis. When we block galectin-3, cancers cells can undergo normal apoptosis. For this reason, MCP can be viewed as a dietary apoptogen, a substance that turns on programmed, normal cell death.

Bottom Line: MCP can help to slow tumor growth and spread, improve cancer markers, and has an actual anti-cancer (apoptogen) action in several cancers. All in living subjects, too — not just in the test tube.

Another nice benefit of MCP is that it seems to be able to bind toxic heavy metals like lead, reducing the blood levels and lowering toxicity or other effects.

Step Three: Anti-Metastatic and Immune Boosters Includes MCP

For reasons like these, MCP is one of the core anti-metastatic therapies used in the Full Spectrum treatment of dog cancer that Dr. Ettinger and I advocate. Step Three, which is covered in chapter 13 in our book, includes several strategies and a few important supplements, all of which fight metastasis (cancer spread) and/or boost the immune system.

MCP is available in health food stores and on sites like*, and dosing information is all laid out in the Guide.  Please be sure to always discuss changes in your dog’s treatment with your vet or oncologist, of course.


Dr D

*This article contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for details.

Further Reading:

New Study Shows Modified Citrus Pectin Activates Powerful Immune Responses

Ramachandran, C., Wilk, B.J., Hotchkiss, A.,Chau, H., Eliaz, I., Melnick, S.J. Activation of Human T-Helper/Inducer Cell, T-Cytotoxic Cell, B-Cell, and Natural Killer (NK)-Cells and induction of Natural Killer Cell Activity against K562 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Cells with Modified Citrus PectinBMC Complem. Altern. Med. 2011, 11:59.

Nangia-Makker P, Hogan V, Honjo Y, Baccarini S, Tait L, Bresalier R, Raz A. Inhibition of human cancer cell growth and metastasis in nude mice by oral intake of modified citrus pectin. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Dec 18;94(24):1854-62.

Guess BW, Scholz MC, Strum SB, Lam RY, Johnson HJ, Jennrich RI. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) increases the prostate-specific antigen doubling time in men with prostate cancer: a phase II pilot study. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2003;6(4):301-4.

Glinsky VV, Raz A. Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets. Carbohydr Res. 2009 Sep 28;344(14):1788-91. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2008.08.038. Epub 2008 Sep 26. Review.

Zhao ZY, Liang L, Fan X, Yu Z, Hotchkiss AT, Wilk BJ, Eliaz I. The role of modified citrus pectin as an effective chelator of lead in children hospitalized with toxic lead levels. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;14(4):34-8. Erratum in: Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;14(6):18.


Leave a Comment

  1. Diane on October 8, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Will this help the spread of lymphoma in dogs?

    • Molly Jacobson on October 11, 2021 at 10:06 am

      Hi Diane, modified citrus pectin is generally super safe and yes, it may be helpful in lymphoma as well. All of the supplements Dr. D recommends could be considered for any type of dog cancer.

  2. Amal on February 10, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Hello Dr. Dressler,
    Thank you for this amazing post.
    Does MCP goes well with Artemisinin?
    As MCP deals with Metal in the body, i assume it effect the iron too, which the artwmisinim need to work properly.
    We just started the treatment so your answer here will be most valuable.
    Thanks in advance

  3. Doug on September 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    Thanks very much for your helpful article above about modified citrus pectin (MCP).

    My wife and I are guardians of two well dogs to whom we tried giving the MCP as a cancer preventative for one week. During this week we changed no other variables in their care. We started them on small amounts of the modified citrus pectin, then gradually worked up to the weight-adjusted dose you recommend in this thread. However, neither dog seemed to have much bowel tolerance for the MCP, at least not at your recommended dose.

    Could you, Dr. Ettinger, or anyone else here offer any suggestions about how to reduce their diarrhea resulting from the modified citrus pectin? The research we read suggests that MCP could be very effective at helping to prevent cancer, but we had to stop giving it to our dogs because this was such an adverse effect. Our veterinarian didn’t seem very knowledgeable about MCP, and didn’t offer many suggestions besides possibly adding some canned pumpkin to their food.

    By the way, we bought your outstanding Dog Cancer Survival Guide and found it to have been one of the best investments we ever made in our dogs’ care. Thanks very much in advance for your response, and many thanks once again for your helpful article and all your hard work.


  4. Mary on February 1, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Oh, I forgot to tell you that the high grade hemangiopericytoma that was removed was an ‘incomplete excised tumor”. Thanks again for any help in making our decision. I am currently reading your book “The Dog Cancer Survival Book”. It is helping, thanks so much for putting it out there.

  5. Mary on February 1, 2013 at 8:46 am

    My husband and I have a 12 year old male cocker spaniel who had a lump removed for his left lateral thorax in January 2013. He has had it for years and our vet always told us it was a lipoma and to not worry about it. So we did not, until over this past Christmas holiday it grew bigger very quickly. We had it removed in mid January 2013 and the results came back as a high grade hemangiopericytoma. This has caught us totally ‘out of the blue’ and we are in a quandry about what to do. We took him to a vet oncologist who suggested radiation coupled with chemotherapy. We cannot afford the radiation ($ 6,000.00) so we are thinking about chemo. I think they want to give him metronomic chemotherapy. It is less expensive than the radiation but we are not sure what to do. Maybe we should just let him go and live out the rest of his days as best as possible. He would have to have the chemo for 6 months and we don’t know how sick it will make him, what the side effects will be, etc. Is it worth it ? Any advice or insight would be appreciated. We are agonizing over such a hard decision. If we don’t do anything I wonder approximately how long he has ? Could the chemo extend his life — what quality of life would he have and for how long could the chemo extend it ? Thank you for your help.

  6. marianne on January 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Hi, John,
    I have a large GSD who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August of 2011, almost a year and a half ago, and his is doing fine. I refused chemo, which they said MAY prolong is life for up to a year, but if he had no chemo, they gave him 4-6 weeks or up to 4 months. I immediately started him on the K9ImmunityPlus at the maximum recommended amount, Robert McDowell’s herbal treatments, probiotics, selenium, vitamin E, and coEnzyme Q10. I also changed his diet to grain free, and to the best of my ability, starch free. Epigen makes a grain free-starch-free kibble. I also added green tripe (stomach contents from either lamb or beef (Tripett). It smells really bad, but you can mix almost anything into it and the dog will not know the difference. My dog LOVES it. It’s his favorite! I also give him cooked beef or chicken liver in small amounts, as well as a little plain yogurt or cottage cheese. His appetite is good, even though he is VERY picky!
    ANOTHER THING TO ASK YOUR VET ABOUT: The anti-inflammatory drug PIROXICAM. In dog studies, this drug had a coincidental effect of shrinking prostate tumors. My dog is on it, and at his last checkup the vet said his prostate was normal in size. Previously (what brought us to the vet in 2011) he had been dribbling bloody pee all over the place and peeing every few minutes. Now there is NO dribbling, no blood, and he can go for several hours without needing to go out. Hope this information is helpful. Good luck with your little buddy!

  7. John on January 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Have a sick Yorke 16 yrs has a growth in the protate protruding into the bladder, urine test under mircoscope shows abnormal cells which are presumed to be cancer. Been giving him a product called K9 immunity plus by Aloha company in Navada since mid Sept. Supprisingly he is still here , thought he’d be gone a while ago. His urination has gotten worse..He litterely goes out approx every several minutes, specially in the morning and afternoon hours. He also can go out and literely 5 min later goes on the floor. He also had an xray at the sime time all this was discovered in mid Aug that revieled a growth in his lung producing a very deep sounding cough, due to pressure on the bronchi. I was curious about the MCP, do you think it would help? I would greatly appreciate and respect your oppinion.
    thank you
    most Sincerely, john

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on January 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Dear John,
      we include modified citrus pectin in our cancer plan as one of the steps that guardians can take to help their dogs with cancer. I would perhaps suggest you read the Guide, which talks all about it as well as some other steps you could be taking. Here is a post that could help:
      Dr D

  8. Dog Cancer Vet Team on December 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Here is a link to a good brand of Modified Citrus Pectin that contains the patented formulation on the Dog Cancer Shop:

  9. Gwen on December 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    What would be the dosage one would give for a 100 lb dog if one bought it in the powder form (Modified Citrus Pectin).


    • Dr. Demian Dressler on December 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      we provide all of the doses of supplements suggested in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Generally, the dose for a dog like that would be roughly a human adult dose. For most powders, about 4 grams daily, and for capsules, 1600 mg daily. Use veterinary supervision for any change in your dog’s care please.
      Dr D

  10. Elaine Weil on December 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    I am a Nurse Practitioner who works in the field of Integrative Cancer treatment for humans. I would like to add some information to the discussion on MCP which you and your readers might find helpful. I have worked for many years with Dr. Isaac Eliaz who has worked on the research, development and production of MCP for the last 20 years. The most important thing to know is that not all MCP is created equal. There are a number of MCP’s available on the market. The key is molecular size. The patented form, Pectasol-C, is the formulation that has been used in the numerous studies including in vitro, in vivo and human clinical studies. Dr. Eliaz has developed a process which modifies the Pectasol-C to under 15 kdaltons. Testing has been done on MCP from other suppliers which has found ranges of 30 to 70 kdaltons, all too large to actually be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. These forms of MCP stay in the gut, and therefore do not have the anticancer effects that have been shown to occur in studies. In addition, they are often cut with fillers such as maltodextrin. The studies on Pectasol-C can be found on Dr. Eliaz’s educational website in the research section. Unfortunately, people try to buy the cheapest brand, and in this case will be getting a product that does not perform. It is exciting to see this safe product with all its powerful anticancer properties being used in animals. Thank you for your good work. Elaine

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on December 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Elaine!
      Dr D

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