Antihistamines increase breast cancer survival

Antihistamines increase breast cancer survival

Second generation antihistamines, in particular Desloratadine and Loratadine, have been shown by Swedish Researchers to significantly increase survival in breast cancer patients who are ER+ or ER-.

First, in 2015, researchers from the Oncology Department in Lund, Sweden, Hakan Lars Olsson, Rickard Einefors, Per Broberg, analysed over 54,000 women with breast cancer on record between 2000 and 2008 (1).

They then looked at those who had co-incidentally taken antihistamines and found a significant difference in survival rate. Their conclusions were very clear: “Women treated with second generation antihistamines have a better overall, and Breast Cancer specific, survival compared with non-users, regardless of age, history of allergy, ER stage and tumour stage”.

These were women who co-incidentally were taking H-1 antihistamines for their hay fever or allergies largely during the Spring or Summer months. Two antihistamine performed particularly well - top was Desloratadine (which in the UK is only available on prescription), and almost right behind it was OTC medicine Loratadine. These both increased survival by approximately 30 per cent.

The same researchers completed a second study (2) reporting in 2021. This looked at which cancers might benefit most.

In particular, they were looking at so called 'immunogenic' cancers - tumors with a known response to immune checkpoint therapy, such as anti-CTLA-4 or anti-PD-1. Taking six H-1 antihistamines (cetirizine, clemastine, desloratadine, ebastine, fexofenadine and loratadine), they reviewed each against different cell lines.

The immunogenic cancers were gastric, colorectal/anal, pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer, melanoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. The non-immunogenic cancers were liver, uterine, ovarian, brain/CNS, thyroid cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

429,198 patients were studied. Desloratadine showed survival benefits with all the immunogenic cancers but none of the non-immunogenic ones. Loratadine showed improved survival in some immunogenic cancers.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, “I am not in the least surprised by this latest finding. We have known that cancer cells have histamine receptors and can produce histamines in the tumour microenvironment since 2001. The histamines up-regulate the cell increasing its aggression and making its membranes inflamed and sticky. This is how they can pick up fat and hide, or stick to other cancer cells to form tumours, or stick to blood vessel walls and other organs. Histamines also promote angiogenesis, cell proliferation and metastases. 

More importantly, histamines produced in the tumour microenvironment can actually help the cancer cells evade attacking immune T-cells. The histamines  produced help regulate both the innate and adaptive immune systems (3). This is why the Lund researchers were looking at immunogenic and non-immunogenic cancers.

Anti-histamines maybe totally appropriate for increasing your cancer survival, or barely work at all. What is interesting in this research is that it was a real life study with quite a large sample. We recommend all people with cancer look into whether an anti-histamine would be appropriate to them, as part of their Integrative Treatment Programme”.

Go to: Can antihistamines like Cimetidine increase cancer survival

Go to: How Anti-histamine Clemastine can reverse chemo brain fog and worse 



1. Second generation antihistamines after breast cancer diagnosis to improve prognosis both in patients with ER+ and ER- breast cancer: Hakan Lars Olsson , Rickard Einefors , Per Broberg; J Clin Oncology; 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting I.

2. Improved survival in several cancers with use of H1-antihistamines desloratadine and loratadine; Hakan Lars Olsson , Rickard Einefors , Per Broberg; Transl Oncol, 2021 Apr; 14(4): 101029.

3. Histamine in cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Current status and new perspectives; María de la Paz Sarasola, Mónica A. Táquez Delgado, Melisa B. Nicoud, and Vanina A. Pharmacol Res Perspec; 2021 Oct; 9(5): e00778

2017 Research
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