Luteolin and Dog Cancer, Continued - Dog Cancer Blog

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

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Luteolin and Dog Cancer, Continued

This is the follow up to the last post about luteolin, a bioflavonoid found in several plants (celery, perilla, artichoke, peanut hull, chrysanthemum and others).

This stuff has a whole slew of literature supporting it’s use for cancer.

It is so new though that not many have heard of it in this country.

I have been using it with dogs with cancer and have been impressed with some of the results.  This of course is my clinical opinion, and is not meant to be  a blanket recommendation.

Why did I get interested? Well, the evidence in rodents and people point to some really good stuff! And to top it off, there seems to be harmony with chemotherapy agents.  Read on!

Cancers with a molecule on the outside of their cells called HER are pretty resistant to chemo.  Luteolin showed it could decrease the tumors in rodents with these tough cancers. Here’s the link.

Luteolin also was able to decrease prostate cancer cell growth in mice, as well as oral squamous cell carcinoma cells.  Check out these articles here and here.

I found another article that showed the same for liver cancer cells.  See for yourself!

So we have multiple different cancers all responding to luteolin in mice, and based on my research no significant adverse effects in 26 dogs so far. This is not that many in the broad scheme of things, but is pretty darned good anyway.

And this was all when it was given by mouth, in living bodies, not test tube or petri dishes, and not injected…

Finally, chemo effects were actually enhanced with cisplatin (read more), doxorubicin (here you go), and the human chemo drug paxlitaxel (check it out).

Luteolin is found in Apocaps, which was created for my patients and is now available.

As always, discuss medical decisions with your vet or oncologist before action, and I hope this helps!


Dr Dressler

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM

Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity.

  • Ray Furr

    Dr. Dressler: On January 2, 2009, my 5 year old german shepherd began ammassed a belly full of fluid. This dog has always been healthy and energetic. I rushed him the local vet who Xrayed him and had me rush him 90 miles away to a special clinic that could remove the fluid around his heart. In two days the fluid in his abdomen and he is back to his old fun self. Of course I am keeping his quiet until our next appointment. The test results came back with a small cluster of mesotheolioma in the pericardial sac. There is no thickening around the pericardial sac and he has not been around asbestos. The prognosis is bleak but I refuse to give up. I don’t want him to suffer through the chemo or radiation. The vets tell me that removal of the pericardial sac will give him some relief from fluids, but he will die soon with or without treatment. I am in Newport News, VA. Can you recommend resources that can help me give my Piper a chance. Ray Furr

    • Dr. Dressler

      Ray, this bad news saddens me. There is a surprising amount of asbestos in many municipal water supplies, you may want to check this out.
      Did they do an ultrasound?? Hemangiosarcoma is more common statistically, but if they got the cancer cells….likely that is the diagnosis. An old buddy of mine, Matt Antkowiak, runs the ER at South Paws, which is at least in the vague geographic area you are. This is a solid hospital.
      Did the vet give some medication to manage the congestive heart failure (pimobendan, benazepril, furosemide, etc)? This would be to help the heart compensate for the harmful effects of the tumor.

  • James W Robinson Have you heard any information on Graviola use in dog cancer. My Westie 9yrs old has TCC Bladder Cancer is on 2 mg of piroxicam and K9 Immunity daily. I am starting dog on N-Tense with graviola from Rain Tree. Human dose is 2 capsules 3-4 times a day. Am using 1/2 capsule twice a day for 17 lb dog. Checked with VET and giving graviola with piroxicam was ok to do. Dont know if you reply to these as I dont see any place to put in a e mail address. We decided not to go the chemo route. Purdue Univ shows this type of canacer with more longevity using just piroxicam and we just did not want to put the lil dog thru chemo.

  • Joanne

    Dear K,,
    Our schnauzer Benny has had a reccurrence of MCT as well.He has a lump on his back which is not shrinking with the prednisone he is presently taking (15 mg. every other day.) He has been taking Artemisinin for over 8 months and is on CANINE LIFE MUFFINS (cancer formula) which contain many beneficial ingredients and Luteolin is one of these ingredients. He also takes salmon capsules, reishi mushrooms, modified citrus pectin. If you would be interested in the MUFFINS here is the link to their website:
    We are not ready to “give up either” since Benny is only 6 and the best dog ever. Terrible, stressful disease, this cancer.
    We don’t know what else we can do.


  • Dr. Dressler

    Krishna, you can buy it from SynoRX in the form of Lutimax. Of course, discuss with your vet!
    More in the upcoming e-book,

  • Do you have any opinion about this supplement LutiMax And, have you visited the Luteolin website?

    • janet

      Dr. Dressler,
      Been reading about lutimax- just wondering on how to figure dosage of the powder to give to my dog with mast cell tumor- my veterinarian was unable to answer my question about it. He didn’t even know what it was. Thanks

      • Dr. Demian Dressler

        Dear Janet
        I am sorry to hear this news. 🙁
        I would be using a blend of apoptogens instead of a single one. Cancer cells become resistant which is why we use multiple methods to try to keep them at bay for longer periods, along with diet changes, anti metatstatics, and conventional care (chemo, surgery, etc)
        I hope this helps. You can read more if you like in the Guide.

  • Bob

    I’ve seen your discussion on Lutimax (for humans), and intend to use it with upcoming chemo for our standard poodle with lymphoma, along with K9 immunity, omega-3s, ginger, and cimetidine (and possibly ALC or CoQ10. I’m unclear on dosage for Lutimax–are the recommendations in your book for luteolin content, or for the Lutimax pill itself?
    Many thanks

  • Dominick

    I am very interested in luteolin for my dog, however Lutimax contains the sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Any other good sources?

  • Mel

    Also looking for other sources. Xylitol is highly toxic and so obviously we want to avoid it! (ASPCA peer-reviewed article on xylitol)

    • Dr. Dressler

      Nice work on your research. One little detail though- you need to look at amounts. Table salt is highly toxic too, given enough, and so is water, which I am drinking right now 🙂 kidding, but in all seriousness the amounts in Lutimax are very low relative to the toxic levels needed. However,
      another source is Apocaps, which is what I use in my own patients. It is not yet widely available, but will be soon:

      • Dear Dr. Dressler,

        We just purchased your book today and I am a bit confused. The chapter where you discuss the use of Luteolin. You mention that we are to implement at least two to the Full Spectrum Approach. Does this mean that we are to use only two of the suggested supplements or are we to implement Luteolin, Curcumin, EGCG and Artemisinin all at the same time. My dog was just diagnosed with Lymphoma and I would like to start him on the Full Spectrum Approach a.s.a.p. I’m also thinking of starting him on Prednisone, is it okay for him to take Prednisone together with all the other supplements??

        Sincerely, Alicia

        • Dr. Dressler

          Dear Alicia,
          The strategy is to use two of the “Big Gun” supplements at the same time. Acceptable combos are EGCG and Curcumin, luteolin and Curcumin. The artemisinin can be used with either or by itself.
          As usual, please make sure your veterinarian is involved in your pet’s treatments as he or she knows your friend’s unique needs…
          Just bring the book to your vet and have he or she read the safety sections of the individual supplements to make sure there are no reasons to avoid one or the other. Curcumin and luteolin have some anti inflammatory effects and your if your pet has a sensitive stomach or ulcers pred should perhaps be avoided with these two, but that will vary depending on your individual dog. Severe interactions are rare.
          Dr D

      • Richard

        Dr. Dressler, I know this is the dog cancer blog, but wasn’t sure where else to post my question since it involves luteolin and dogs. My 4 year old Pug has just been diagnosed with Pug Dog Encephalitis. As I am sure you are aware, this is a fatal disease which is immune mediated. I discovered luteolin while doing a search for natural supplements that aid treatment of encephalitis in humans. My question is, do you think it would be safe to give Apocaps to my dog? He will start treatment of corticosteroids, anti seizure meds, and immunosuppressive drugs this week. Just wanted to ensure Apocaps will not hurt instead of aid.
        I swear by Transfer Factor, I have been using it on another Pug that suffers from chronic active hepatitis with great success, but I am hesitant to use it on this Pug with encephalitis, however, I would consider using something like Apocaps instead.

  • Shelley Russo

    Hello again. My 4-1/2 year old boxer, Pugsley (weighs in at 90lbs.), was previously diagnosed with a grade 2 MCT tumor on his rear leg (inoperable due to the location) and a small MTC on his ear. He was also diagnosed with a tumor in his testicles and after castration, this tumor was diagnosed as a malignant hemangiosarcoma. Dr. Lisa Fulton at MedVet in Columbus, OH says that this type of tumor in the testicle is so very rare (basically unheard of!) that there are no published papers or research on them. The lab still has the tumor. My local vet is confidant that he got all of the tumor, but Dr. Fulton is concerned about it metastisizing, but right now there is no evidence of this. I am waiting for test results from a CBC, urinalysis, chest x-ray and ultrasound. If all is well, MedVet wants to put Pugsley in a phase 2 double blind clinical trial for Pax 2 (2 out of 3 dogs get Pax 2, one gets CCNU, don’t know who got what until the trial is over). While I hope Pugsley gets into the trial (and receives the Pax 2, seems to be very promising with MCT) I would like to know what I can do to give him the best chance of overcoming this. I can’t afford the Lutimax, so I have been looking for other options. Dr. Fulton recommended Omega 3 fish oil and 75 mg. daily of Benadryl. She also indicated that giving him Turmeric wouldn’t hurt. She also said that the research on Luteolin was just beginning. I was thinking of lightly sauteing some broccoli, celery, parsley (all high in luteolin content), chicken liver and tomato in virgin olive oil and adding this as a supplement to his food. I would like an opinion before I do this. How much should I give him daily? Is any of this harmful to him? I just want to give him the best chance that I can. Any thoughts? Thanks so very much.

  • Tami

    I found this discussion after I purchased some Lutimax (I’d read about it in your book). The label doesn’t say what amount of xylitol is contained in each capsule. I’d rather not risk cumulative damage to my dog’s liver, especially at a time when he’s fighting osteosarcoma.

    The nice folks at Lutimax accepted a return of the product and sent me a xylitol-free powdered luteolin instead.

  • Fred

    For Dominic & Mel and Tami,

    Based on Tami’s statement above I called Lutimax and talked to Celeste and she was very nice as Tami mentioned.

    Celeste said that she tries to screen customers and is happy to supply LutiMax for Canine use in bulk form without the xylitol. Celeste also advises the amount to give based on your dog’s weight.


    • Chris

      Neoplasene! Holistic vet recommended it to me today..a lot of research about it.sounds like a very good match for this type of cancer. Don’t give up…I also do Venus fly trap injections dIly…I do it, not a big deal. My poodle has TCC of the bladder…not a treat prognosis, but I refuse to give up…get the apocaps dr. Dressler’s recommends..he is a truly good man

  • Nancy

    6 weeks is up. Where are the apocaps ? Please.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Nancy,
      We are waiting for the manufacturer to finish making the capsules. I understand this is frustrating…it is so for all of us.
      Dr D

  • Lucy

    Dr. Dressler,

    My dog Shaymis a Shapr-pei was just diagnosed with lymphoma. He is currently on Prednisone, but I have ordered Apocap can he still take the Prednisone? And should I also buy luteolin as a seperate supplememnt or will the Apocap have enough in it? What supplements do you recommend along with Apocap if any?

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Lucy,
      as always, have your vet involved in all aspects of your dog’s care. I will often drop the dose of pred down to about 1/4 or 1/2 if there is any problem with taking the Apocaps along with the pred (like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and so on). Apocaps has enough luteolin. Other than that, it depends on the dog. Generally, a dog cancer diet with the additives in the Guide can help. The Apocaps has so many things in the single capsule that addressing apoptosis is fairly complete. Ginger, garlic, cimetidine, modified citrus pectin, Wobenzym N and others are all covered in detail.
      Don’t forget sleep, life quality enrichment, touch therapies, etc.
      Dr D

  • Dear Dr. Dressler,

    My dog Ranger is currently on Luteolin and Curcumin. As well as the digestive enzymes. He doesn’t seem to tolerate the enzymes very well. Could I mix the enzymes in his food or must it be given on an empty stomach? He is also on K-9 Immunity. If I put Ranger on Apocaps will he still need K-9 Immunity?

    Also, this may sound like a crazy question, but I’ll ask anyway. We live in South Florida and our Golden Retriever was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. Just on our block alone, there are two other dogs that have been recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. We can’t help but worry that something is causing our pets to get sick. Should we be concerned with the water they are drinking or the fact that we live by a lake? Could a dog get Lymphoma from toxins in the water or is it something they are born with??


    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Alicia,

      First, thing, you may want to consider Apocaps instead of all three, which is a source of the ingredients that I designed for my own patients. It has luteolin, curcumin, as well as beta glucans which are found in medicinal mushroom supplements.

      Enzymes for digestion can be mixed in the food to pre-digest the food, but make sure it is not more than lukewarm, and leave for at least 30-60 minutes.

      Secondy, I do not think you are crazy. Have you heard of “The Love Canal”? This was the site of a housing development on top of a industrial waste site, and the cancer rates there are much higher than normal. I am not trying to say that is what is going on with your dog necessarily, but as you may have learned in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, there are environmental factors that increase cancer risks in certain areas.

      That being said, there are also genetic issues too, which is why we have breeds at higher rates for certain cancers. Goldens certainly are prone to lympho, and they are born with those genes.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr D

      • Byron barone

        My dog has prostate cancer will cas options kill the cancer? Have you ever heard of neoplasene it is a drug given by Dr michele Yasson to kill cancer cells is it effective? Michele Yasson web site

  • We’re getting the Apocaps now from Amazon, and they’re much less than the $90 mentioned here. We’d been giving luteolin, curcumin, and other supplements separately to Benny (our dog diagnosed with osteosarcoma), but the Apocaps are certainly easier to administer! And we had an unfortunate incident involving the curcumin by itself – Benny had a digestive upset and now we have what seems to be a permanent curry-colored stain on our carpet.

  • Beth

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    I am using curcumin (250 mg/ 3 x day on empty stomach) and the fresh parsley 2x/day (2-4 oz total) with food as “Big Guns,” K-9 Immunity Plus (4 tabs/day), multivitamins, enzymes in her food, and fish oil at 1000 mg/10 pounds along with your recommended cancer diet. I feel the Apocaps would be much more expensive than the three choices above, unless I must give the luteolin, since my dog is over 60 pounds. Are the curcumin and parsley a solid enough combo of “Big Guns,” or should I switch to EGCG or Luteolin with the curcumin? If I do decide to go for the Apocaps, can I remove the K-9 Immunity from her regimen totally? She has a myxosarcoma in her hind leg that has been surgically removed without clean margins. I am opting against radiation treatment. I have been advised that the tumor has a very slow rate of metastasis, do I still need the amino acids or MCP? Please advise. Thank you for your support.


    • Dear Beth,
      You raise a good point, especially during this economy. How does one prioritize?
      Unfortunately the amount of parsley needed to get an anti-cancer concentration of luteolin in the body is beyond what is manageable for most dogs. Secondly, you want to add something to the curcumin to increase the blood levels (boost bioavailability).
      In my opinion, I would go for a combo of Apocaps with K-9 Immunity with Transfer Factor if you can swing it. Skip the aminos, MCP, multivits, enzymes, and fish oil. That should free up the funds enough to afford these top picks (the result of extensive analysis).

  • Kelly

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    My 11-year old rescued chow, Teddy, was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma last week. He had been a backyard breeder dog kept in extremely poor conditions & was lucky enough for us to find & rescue him just last year. Now he’s facing this horrible disease. Our vet says the tumor is inoperable & untreatable due to its location. It is on the roof of his mouth & has invaded his nasal passage causing nose bleeds & congestion. He put him on 20mg of Prednisone twice a day & sent him home.

    Except for being annoyed with this thing in his mouth that he can feel & having more difficulty nose-breathing, he is still the happy little guy who stole my heart the first day I saw him last year. I started him on the cancer diet, & ordered Apocaps & K-9 Immunity w/Transfer Factor. I already had Only Natural Pet B.S.S.T. Herbal Formula & Genesis Resources Canine CAS Options. I’ve been researching other treatments such as photodynamic therapy & piroxicam, the latter of which I think probably has too many side effects for not-too-great results. I just want to do everything in my power to give him the life he deserves. Which combination of these products would you recommend? Are there any other treatments that you know of that I could check into that might be effective for my little guy?

    Thanks for everything you do!

    • Dear Kelly,
      I would not mix the antioxidants and Apocaps as you may decrease the potency of both. I would consider also Yunnan Baiyao (see this post). In this case you might combine artemisinin with the others as discussed in the Guide (all under veterinary supervision of course).
      Hope it helps!

    • Lisa Zucker

      Dear Dr. Dressler,
      My dog has lymphoma cancer and I purchased your Apocaps. I have him on 20 mg of prednisone a day. Can I give this to him with the prednisone or do I need to ween him off? Does apocaps cure cancer or just help support him through his dying process? I am also giving him homopathic remedy, chinese herbs and a mushroom formula. Can these all go together?
      Thanks, Lisa

      • Dear Lisa,
        I usually use 1/4 to 1/2 the labeled dose of Apocaps when a patient of mine is on pred. And I wish I had the cure for cancer, but I cannot say that I do, at least not if the cancer is spread in the body tissues. I can say that I have been able to extend life span and life quality in my patients though and have beaten the odds many times.
        The treatment sounds fine to me, but make sure your vet is involved in all steps…
        Also, have you taken the other steps in the Guide?? It is an easy read and worth it.
        Dr D

  • Kathy

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    First, thank you for writing such a great book. Your book has helped me and my dog in this battle. My dog was dianosed with lymphoma last June, finished chemo beginning of January… unfortunatelt he came out of remission end of March. At the moment he is undergoing his 2nd chemo.

    I am looking at giving Luteolin by Lutimax to my dog. The company has lozegens and powder from (which a lady told me is for canine use.) Which would you recommend?

    When you introduced arteminsinin, you note multi vatimins, Q10… may reduce the effetiveness. What about luteolin? You mentioned there seems to be harmony between chemo and luteolin, which really sounds cool!

    Sincerely yours,

    • Dear Kathy-
      good question. In anti cancer doses, luteolin is pro oxidant. Thus, compounds that have strict anti oxidant effects would theoretically reduce its effects.
      Dr D

      • Kathy

        Dear Dr. Dressler,

        I understand we should avoid using anioxidants while giving arte, luteolin… etc. Is daily multi vatamins okay to use? Anyway I can order Apocaps and have it shipped to Canada?


        • Dear Kathy
          I assume your dog has cancer (yes, I know this is the Dog Cancer Blog..)?
          I usually have people give the multivits at a different time of day than the others (space out by 4-6 hours or something).
          We are working on international fulfillment now…will keep you posted.

  • Kathy

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    Sorry for a couple of more questions –

    As I mentioned my dog has lymphoma, among the supplements you introduced in yur book, which do you consider are more effective for lymphoma?

    I tried artemisinin and curcumim. (I still gave my dog daily vatimins.) Curcumin does not do well with my dog, as he has stomach upsets. Curcumim was not absorbed by his body at all. I used liquid soy lecithin to help absorption already, but my dog got nauseous.

    I have not tried luteolin and EGCG and start thinking about switching to these soon. I tried to order Apocaps, but they do not ship to Canada.


  • Stacy

    Dr D,
    Thank you so much for sharing this, and other valuable information in the canine cancer fight. My 8 yr old ridgeback was diagnosed in June with osteosarcoma. We did amputation and followed with Chemo. We also do a high protein home cooked diet and lots of supplements. In particular, we are doing Vitamins A, C, E, D, L-glutamine, L-arganine, selenium, curcumin, broccoli seed extract, green tea extract, IP-6, agaricus blazie, miatake/reishi/shitake blend. I think that’s all of them!
    We also just started a low dose (100mg) in the evening of artemisinin – 3 hours away from his last food. If I want to incorporate luteolin, would I need to stop any of these? How about artemisinin with Luteolin?
    We’re likely going to start the metronomic protocol soon as well – would it be bad to be combining that with Luteolin? Very curious as the information in your book is really intriguing!

    Many thanks, again. Much of the information we have gathered has come from your blog and book – and we eternally grateful!

    • Dear Stacy-
      Well, you are certainly going for it!
      Vits ACE, selenium, broccoli seen, green tea, IP 6 and even to some extent the mushrooms will interfere with art and luteolin.
      You really should look into Apocaps (which contains luteolin at relevant doses along with other useful items), which does what you are attempting by combining things but a bit more logically. I alternate art with apocaps in 5 day cycles. Don’t forget veterinary supervision for all steps!
      Read these posts:
      anyway I would at the very least try to give the antioxidants several hours before or after your pro-oxidants…
      good luck

  • My dog, Tilda, is a Therapy Dog at 4 hospitals but about a month ago her first Mast Cell Tumor popped up on the back of her head and the vet found it on her regular exam. Lab results were positive. Since then every few days the number of Mast Cell Tumors would double and on last count there were over 115. At the vet’s advice I took her directly to CSU Vet Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado about 3 weeks ago (after positive lab test). They diagnosed Tilda with Grade 3, Stage 3 Mast Cell Tumors. They decided not to operate as there are too many so they put her on 30mg Prednisone every other day plus she was started on weekly treatments of Vinblastine Intravenously. The Tumors keep getting bigger and bigger with some now the size of a sewing thimble. They are also having me give her something for stomach acid and 100mg Benedryl 4 times per day. The itching is now getting so bad, Tilda is breaking open many of them and it is getting worse day by day.

    CSU says she is on the last end of this tragic disease and are no longer of much help except to prescribe more drugs to do one thing which causes something else so need a drug to fix that. Way too much drugs and poor Tilda is losing ground. Her attitude is still good but she is not comfortable these days. Is there anything you can help with? This wonderful dog has done so much for other people…….hundreds of people. It is so sad to see her saddled with this horrible disease. I built a website for her about a year ago and the blogs section there tells about the stages of this disease plus a lot of personal experiences she has encountered helping people. I will leave the website name for Tilda is the space provided below my email address. Please help if you can think of anything?

  • Ben

    That study is only about the use of graviola fruit and seed and it didn’t actually prove much in any case. Doesn’t apply to leaf and stem of the graviola that Raintree use.