IP-6 can starve brain tumours

IP-6, inositol hexaphosphate, a natural compound from fibre has been shown to both restrict iron in brain cancer cells and reactivate essential cancer-blocking messages, in effect starving the cancer and promoting its suppression.

Research scientists led by Professor Silvia Marino from the Brain Tumour Research Centre at Queen Mary University of London have shown they can starve brain cancer of iron, by using a natural compound IP-6, which is found in high fibre foods (1). 

IP-6 is nature’s most effective iron-chelating molecule, found in many high fibre foods and especially oatmeal, bran and seeds. Because cancer cells are high in iron content, IP-6 can be used selectively against cancer cells. It is known that IP-6 can ‘steal’ iron from cancer cells and thus remove a ‘food’ source – a primary growth factor – in effect ‘starving the cancer’. IP-6 does not remove iron from healthy cells and has very low toxicity (2).

In healthy cells specific messages and their resultantant proteins can be switched on and off. It’s called epigenetics. But in cancer the messages are altered and proteins are compromised. IP-6 can alter this expression of proteins from the two cancer suppressing genes p21 and p53 when they are compromised, instead, allowing their correct messaging and inhibiting cancer progression (3).

The Queen Mary team took human tissue samples, tumour cell lines and also used in vivo mice models for Medulloblastoma, a high grade brain cancer common in children. Where the cancer has spread it is almost always fatal. The IP-6 inhibited the brain cancer in its own right but was also shown to work well with chemotherapy to kill cancer cells and tumours.

Go to: Is IP-6 a cure for cancer? 



  1. Inositol treatment inhibits medulloblastoma through suppression of epigenetic-driven metabolic adaptation‘. Sara Badodi, Nicola Pomella, Xinyu Zhang, Gabriel Rosser, John Whittingham, Maria Victoria Niklison-Chirou, Yau Mun Lim, Sebastian Brandner, Gillian Morrison, Steve M. Pollard, Christopher D. Bennett, Steven C. Clifford, Andrew Peet, M. Albert Basson and Silvia Marino. Nature Communications. DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22379-7
  2. Deliliers GL, British J Haematology 117: 577—87, 2002
  3. Saied IT, Anticancer Research 18: 1479—84, 1998


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