Acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA for short, is known worldwide as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic active ingredient and is known as Aspirin. But did you know that acetylsalicylic acid has been on the WHO Essential Medicines List since 1977?

A relatively new unique anti-cancer therapy, 'Diflu,' involves the intravenous use of combinations of three medications, each belonging to the salicylate family of pharmaceuticals. The three salicylates are used intravenously to selectively kill  cancer cells without harming normal tissues, diflunisal, para-aminosalicylic acid, and aspirin. This therapy had been studied first in the laboratory and later in the clinical setting with patients having various forms of late stage malignant solid tumors. Supporting theories, history and clinical outcomes are described below.

What are salicylates and how are they related to aspirin?

Salicylates are chemical substances composed of salicylic acid and its derivatives. Acetylsalicylic acid is commonly known as aspirin. Salicylates are found naturally occurring in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, and spices. Salicylates are traditionally used to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation. In antiquity willow bark

containing salicylic acid was used medicinally for such purposes. The Greek physician Hippocrates circa 4-5th century BC wrote about white willow's medicinal uses. Salicylates are also being produced synthetically. Each of the three Diflu salicylates had been approved in North America for treating atleast one medical condition orally, but not cancer intravenously.

How are salicylates used to treat cancer?

Salicylates taken orally have been found in recent years to have properties which prevent development and distant spread of cancer. (1-8) In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects aspirin activates AMPK (5'AMP-activated protein kinase), a metabolic enzyme which plays a role in cancer. When administered intravenously using specific protocols salicylates selectively kill cancer cells while not harming non-cancer cells. The relatively hypoxic chemical environment of malignant tumors is acidic compared to that of normal tissues normal tissues. Salicylates in the acid extracellular environment of malignant tumor cells form pore like openings in cancer cell walls leading to programmed cell death. Such desired benefits and safety are not achievable via oral administration.


There are increasing data on the positive effects of Aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) on the development of cancer and the risk of relapse after cancer. In the meantime there is also the possibility of using Aspirin to treat advanced tumor diseases. This novel therapeutic approach opens up the chance to fight tumors and metastases. It is based on the established knowledge that tumors and metastases have an acidic environment, a property that opens up the possibility of targeted and selective attack on cancer cells. Another effect that has been proven in studies is the activation of the immune system when Aspirin is given in combination with cancer vaccines. In the best case, this can be permanent, as our observations, which have now lasted 5 years, prove.

The usual side effects of chemotherapy are not to be expected. For Diflunisal therapy you are at the right address at UNIFONTIS. As a specialist in Oncology, you will always have the latest findings in cancer research of all kinds available to you as information as quickly as possible and supplement these with individual diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Which salicylates are used and why? 

Salicylates need to be infused into the blood in appropriate amounts and combinations to kill malignant tumor cells. The salicylates diflunisal (s -12,+-difluorophenyl)-salicylic acid) and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) generally used for pain and inflammation are administered synergistically since each has a different acidic pH range under which therapeutic effects on the cancer cells are optimally exerted. A third salicylate PAS (p-aminosalicylic acid) used in treating tuberculosis

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UNIFONTIS | Prof. Dr. med. Joachim Drevs
Specialist for internal medicine
Additional qualification in hematology / private oncology doctor

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