2DG for Cancer

2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) is a glucose analog that cannot be metabolized because its 2-hydroxyl group is replaced by hydrogen. This modification prevents it from participating in glycolysis (sugar breakdown), thereby potentially starving cancer cells and inhibiting their neoplastic activities.

2-Deoxy-D-glucose closely resembles ordinary table sugar in its powdered form, making it visually indistinguishable. However, it differs significantly in taste, lacking the sweetness of regular sugar and presenting a neutral flavor instead. It is typically dissolved in water and consumed on an empty stomach.

Historically, 2-Deoxy-D-glucose has been used as a non-toxic, orally available diagnostic tool in PET scanning. Today, it is emerging as a promising anti-cancer therapy.

Glucose is the primary energy source for cellular processes and is vital for all cells. Rapidly growing tumor cells have a significantly higher glucose uptake, consuming glucose at rates hundreds of times greater than normal cells. Because tumor cells consume glucose much faster, 2DG effectively shuts off sugar frombeing used in these cells.

The principle of 2DG is to “Cheat the Cheater.” Tumor cells, which multiply by hijacking energy from human cells, require glucose (sugar) for each multiplication. 2DG acts as a “pseudo” glucose. When cancer cells absorb it, their growth is halted, enabling the body to combat and overpower the tumor.

Hand pouring 2DG powder into a glass of water on a beige background.

The Evolution and Potential of 2-Deoxy-D-glucose(2DG) in Cancer Treatment

The studies Dr. Lampidis been mostly engaged in are about the metabolism of the cancer cells and their enormous uptake of sugar specifically – he has recently been using 2DG as a compound with the ability to target these metabolic pathways to starve the cancer cells’ growth. The research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute highlighting the importance and potential of his work.

Overall, the current preclinical and clinical studies highlight the multifaceted role of 2DG in cancer therapy, not only as a single-therapy metabolic inhibitor but also as an enhancer of other therapeutic agents and immune modulators.

People worldwide are turning to 2DG to enhance their cancer treatment, leveraging its potential to halt or eradicate cancer cells.

Scientist in a laboratory conducting 2-deoxy-D-glucose research for cancer.

Understanding the Mechanisms of Action of 2DG

2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) is gaining attention in cancer treatment due to its unique ability to inhibit glycolysis and disrupt cancer cell metabolism.It targets cancer cells by taking advantage of their heightened demand for sugar. Additionally, as a mannose analog, it induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and apoptosis in certain cancer cells, even in oxygen-rich environments.

How 2DG Works

Once ingested, 2DG mimics glucose and enters tumors through glucose transporters (GLUTs). Glucose transporters (GLUTs) are typically up to 10 times more abundant in cancer cells compared to normal cells.

Inside the cancer cell, it disrupts glycolysis by converting into a non-metabolizable form, effectively starving the cancer cells of energy. This disruption hinders the energy-generating cycle of tumors, selectively killing the cancer cells and preventing their growth and metastasis.

Overcoming Treatment Resistance

One of the significant challenges in conventional cancer therapies is reaching the hypoxic core of solid tumors. This core consists of slow-dividing, treatment-resistant cells, often referred to as cancer stem cells. Unlike traditional treatments, 2DG can penetrate these hypoxic areas, targeting the resilient cells and reducing the likelihood of cancer recurrence after achieving No Evidence of Disease (NED).

Enhancing Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy

The initial interest in 2DG arose from the resistance observed in solid tumor cells to standard treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. A solution emerged when doctors observed that depriving tumors of energy could increase their vulnerability.

By slowing down these cancer cells, 2DG increases their sensitivity to various treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, biological therapy, and other non-conventional approaches.

Promising Research Outcomes

Studies have shown that combination treatments involving 2DG lead to almost complete tumor elimination, resulting in significantly better outcomes for patients. This promising research highlights the potential of 2DG to enhance the effectiveness of cancer treatments and improve patient prognosis. By focusing on these key mechanisms and benefits, 2DG demonstrates its potential as a stand-alone therapy, a powerful adjunct, or a means of maintaining remission in the fight against cancer.

The Biological Activity of 2DG in Cancer Cells

  • Glycolysis Inhibition (decreases energy metabolism).
  • Apoptosis Induction (drives tumors cells to programmed cell death).
  • Inhibition of Protein N-Glycosylation (helps anti-cancer therapies and prevents resistance).
  • Autophagy Induction (sensitizes cancer cells to treatment to overpower the tumor).
Biological effects of 2DG to cancer cells

2DG Dosage and Usage For Cancer

2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) offers a versatile approach to cancer treatment, leveraging its unique mechanism to target every cancer cell. This innovative strategy involves taking 2DG orally, dissolving the powder in 100-250 mL of room-temperature water, making it easy to administer at home.

To ensure accurate dosing, a pre-measured scoop or a digital pocket scale is recommended. The standard dosage is 30 mg/kg of body weight, split into a morning dose (20 mg/kg) after an overnight fast and an evening dose (10 mg/kg) after a 3-hour fast. We recommend using our calculator to obtain your accurate dosing and to generate a printable sheet for your convenience.

For optimal results, the 2DG dosing schedule follows a 7-day on, 7-day off pattern. This intermittent cycle helps maximize the drug’s efficacy. Patients should avoid strenuous exercise close to dosing times, as this can interfere with the drug’s absorption and effectiveness.

When used as a stand-alone treatment, 2DG should be taken in 7-day cycles until remission is achieved.

For those looking to prevent cancer recurrence after achieving No Evidence of Disease (NED), maintaining the same 7-day 2DG cycle is crucial until you’re sure you’re free off cancer for at least 5 years.

Combining 2DG with other treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy involves specific guidelines. These can be found in our 2DG dosage page.

There are a few precautions for cancer patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, which we describe in detail. However, overall, 2DG is a safe treatment that can be used for years when adhering to the rules.

2DG is a powerful tool that can be effectively integrated into any cancer treatment regimen, offering significant benefits and improved outcomes. It works on any cancer type, earning its reputation as the universal cancer treatment.

Once you have been cancer-free for 5 years, you can stop using 2DG and enjoy your life.

Scientist reading a results of a research of 2DG effects on cancer cells.

2DG Safety and Side Effects

2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) is an innovative and promising alternative cancer treatment, known for its ability to target cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. Used correctly, 2DG has shown to be both safe and effective, with many patients tolerating the treatment well over long periods.

2DG has a history spanning over 60 years and has been involved in numerous clinical trials. It is also an approved medication in India for treating moderate to severe COVID-19, with millions of patients benefiting from its use.

2DG is generally well-tolerated, with possible mild and transient side effects in some people. Some of the side effects could include interim fatigue, sweating, and dizziness, which resemble symptoms of low blood sugar. These effects resolve quickly. If you stop taking 2DG, any side effects typically disappear within 24 hours.

List of Possible 2DG Side Effects:

  • Mildly elevated blood sugar (resolves within 1-2 hours)
  • Fatigue, sweating, dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Reversible QTc prolongation at high doses
  • Stomach pain or aggravation of pre-existing problems with unhealed GI ulcers

Precautions Before Starting 2DG Treatment:

  • Avoid if you have active untreated esophageal, gastric, or duodenal ulcers
  • Use under supervision if on QTc-extending medications or with a history of arrhythmias
  • Caution for patients with severe chronic kidney disease stage 3 and above
  • Take lower doses if prone to dizziness or fainting
  • Delay treatment if experiencing moderate anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia
  • Ensure well-controlled blood sugar for diabetic patients; consider combining with metformin for Type II diabetes

Feedback from patients using 2DG indicates significant improvements, particularly when the treatment is tailored to individual needs and combined with other therapies.

Noticeable improvements, such as reduced tumor markers, tumor shrinkage in imaging studies, and overall health benefits, typically become evident after 3-6 months of consistent use. By adhering to these guidelines, you can safely and effectively incorporate 2DG into your cancer treatment regimen, maximizing your chances for a positive treatment outcome.

Real-Life Experiences: 2DG’s Impact on Advanced Cancer Patients

These patients are battling advanced stages of cancer with limited conventional treatment options remaining. While the complete data is not yet available for publication, Dr. Daniel Stanciu, PhD, founder of Cancer Treatments Research, has observed several notable cases:

Brain Cancer

Patient: 72-year-old woman with progressing brain cancer while on Temozolomide.

  • Current Status: Improvement in overall well-being following the addition of 2DG to her treatment regimen.

Colon Cancer

70-year-old woman with colon cancer and liver metastasis.

  • Treatment Outcome: An 18% reduction in tumor markers after one week of treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer

Patient: 70-year-old man with pancreatic cancer and liver metastasis.

  • Pre-Treatment: Tumor markers (CA 19-9 and CEA) were rapidly increasing during the summer.
  • Treatment Strategy: Gemcitabine initially halted the growth of markers. After introducing 2DG and other treatments, a 90% decline in tumor markers was observed over the subsequent two months.

Ovarian Cancer

Patient: 50-year-old woman with ovarian cancer, liver, and spleen metastases, and rapidly progressing ascites.

  • Treatment Outcome: Following two months of low-dose chemotherapy, 2DG, and other treatments, a complete remission was observed on MRI three months later. The patient is currently feeling well.

Endometrial Cancer

A woman with stage IV endometrial cancer.

  • Pre-Treatment: Tumors located in vertebra L2, surrounding bone, and soft tissues, measuring 6x4x5 cm. Approximately 14 small lung nodules, the largest being 1.2 cm, another 0.9 cm, and the rest smaller than 0.4 cm.
  • Tumor Concerns: The vertebral tumor posed a significant risk due to its growth toward the spinal canal. Genetic analysis revealed mutations in PI3K, PTEN, ESR1, and CTNNB1.
  • Current Status: The patient remains active and is able to travel, walk, and cycle, demonstrating remarkable resilience. Despite a previous operation involving the stabilization of five vertebrae, her overall condition is excellent.
  • Treatment Results: Significant reduction in tumor markers from 240 to 80, halving of the lung nodules, and reduction in the vertebra L2 lesion.


Patient: 30-year-old woman with metastatic sarcoma.

  • Treatment Outcome: Combining low-dose chemotherapy with 2DG and additional treatments, she reported feeling better and noticing regression in some palpable tumors.

Promising Results With 2DG Cancer Treatment

The observed outcomes align with our expectations, showing improvement in almost all cases. Most patients have reported a significant enhancement in their well-being, frequently stating, “I feel much better than before.”

Overall, 2DG treatment for cancer has proven beneficial across various types of tumors. However, its effectiveness appears to be more limited in patients with hepatic and renal tumors, primarily due to the unique glucose metabolism in these organs.


Fundamentals of 2DG and Its Anticancer Mechanisms:

  1. Xi, H., et al. (2014). The wonders of 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Cancer Biology & Therapy, 15(8), 1040-1048. Available at: NCBI
  2. Pelicano, H., et al. (2006). Glycolysis inhibition for anticancer treatment. Oncogene, 25(34), 4633-4646. Available at: NCBI
  3. Maschek, G., et al. (2004). 2-Deoxy-D-glucose increases the efficacy of Adriamycin and paclitaxel in human osteosarcoma and non-small cell lung cancers in vivo. Cancer Research, 64(1), 31-34. Available at: NCBI

Clinical Trials Involving 2DG for Cancer Treatment:

  1. Raez, L. E., et al. (2013). A phase I dose-escalation trial of 2-deoxy-D-glucose alone or combined with docetaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, 71(2), 523-530. Available at: NCBI
  2. Stein, M., et al. (2010). Targeting tumor metabolism with 2-deoxyglucose in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer Biology & Therapy, 9(11), 903-910. Available at: NCBI

2DG in COVID-19 Clinical Trials:

  1. ClinicalTrials.gov. (2021). A study of 2-deoxy-D-glucose in patients with COVID-19. Available at: ClinicalTrials.gov
  2. Dwarakanath, B. S., et al. (2021). 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG): From cancer to COVID-19 therapy. Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, 17(3), 2-10. Available at: NCBI

Dr. Theodore Lampidis’ Research on 2DG:

  1. Lampidis, T. J., et al. (2006). The anticancer agent 2-deoxyglucose downregulates multiple cell-cycle regulatory proteins by inhibiting N-linked glycosylation in the NCI/ADR-RES cancer cell line. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 5(3), 728-734. Available at: NCBI
  2. Aft, R. L., et al. (2002). Evaluation of 2-deoxy-D-glucose as a chemotherapeutic agent: mechanism of cell death. British Journal of Cancer, 87(7), 805-812. Available at: NCBI
  3. Singh, D., et al. (2015). The metabolic targeting of cancer cells by 2-deoxyglucose combined with inhibition of autophagy: Enhanced efficacy in glucose-addicted cells. Cancer Research, 75(18 Supplement), 1047-1047. Available at: NCBI
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