In 2011 the group of Professor Cruccu of the university of Rome published a paper showing that PEA could reduce the harm done by chemotherapy to nerves. Pain was less and nerve-functions were better, if patients with cancer and chemotherapy were also treated with palmitoylethanolamide (1200 mg/day).
This idea, to protect important cells against the damage done by chemotherapy has been brought forward in 1975 already. As this paper has great value, and is very unknown and difficult to find we document the ideas in that paper in this article.
The paper started with the remark that PEA is a specific anti-toxic agent and that its use to counteract toxicity of chemotherapy would be interesting:
And after testing a variety of chemotherapeutic agents in various coctails, the results showed a clear add-on effect of PEA, and this even had positive impact on the survival time after the emergence of the cancer, as can be easily seen via the survival plot enclosed.
In te final graph the effects of PEA were very clear: less mortality due to side effects, and less mortality due to the cancer itself. Results under speak for themselves. Based on this animal study and the recent data in patients with cancer, PEA seems a very wise addition, decreasing side effects of chemo-therapy, and enhancing the therapeutic effects against the cancer.
These effects have been duplicated in 2002, in the study: Effect on cancer cell proliferation of palmitoylethanolamide, a fatty acid amide interacting with both the cannabinoid and vanilloid signalling systems., by De Petrocellis L, Bisogno T, Ligresti A, Bifulco M, Melck D, Di Marzo V. In: Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Aug;16(4):297-302.
Recently the lipids such as PEA have been reviewed as modulators of the endocannabinoid system in various cancer types reveals that it can mediate antiproliferative and apoptotic effects by both cannabinoid receptor-dependent and -independent path- ways. PEA exerts is action via CB independent pathways.
With 2 preclinical studies and one clinical study, all pointing in the same direction, PEA needs to be considered by patients and doctors if patients are being treated with chemo-therapy.
At the East European congress for pain (2013) professor Khasabova spoke about her data on PEA in cancer models and referred to PEA as promising against cancer and cancer related pains. (personal communication).
Most probably PEA can enhance the efficacy of analgesic regimes, and the compound might have an extra cancer-inhibiting effect.