EDITOR’s NOTE: There are three Addendums after this post, containing the complete text of e-mails.

EDITOR’s NOTE #2 (8/19/14 4:51 PM): There is one more Addendum, as Dr. Arguello has sent me another e-mail.

EDITOR’s NOTE #3 (8/20/14 7:18 PM): There is yet another Addendum, as Dr. Arguello is now complaining to my place of work.

EDITOR’s NOTE #4 (8/21/14 5:30 PM): And the beat goes on. See Dr. Arguello’s next e-mail.

The following post will be of a type that I like to refer to as “taking care of business.” That’s not to say that it won’t be, as my posts usually are, informative and entertaining, but it does say that I’m doing it instead of what I had originally had in mind because something came up. That something is a rather unhappy e-mail from the doctor about whom I wrote three weeks ago. It’s just an indication that, although it’s a great thing that this blog is becoming more and more prominent, it’s also a two-edged sword. People actually notice it when I (or other SBM bloggers) criticize them for dubious medicine. We see this in how Dr. Edward Tobinick has launched what I (and many others) consider to be a frivolous lawsuit against SBM founder Steve Novella over a post from 2013 clearly designed to silence criticism. It’s legal thuggery, pure and simple. That’s the bad end of the spectrum. I’ve been at the receiving end of similar retaliation that could have just as bad an impact on me personally as far as my career goes when antivaccine activists tried to get me fired from my job four years ago.

The more common (and far less agita-inducing) end of the spectrum consists of e-mails or letters of complaint. Sometimes they come from eminent radiologists who don’t like my criticism of their attacks on mammography studies. (Actually, truth be told, it is rarely eminent radiologists—or eminent physicians and scholars—who complain.) More commonly, it’s practitioners who object to how their treatments have been described. This time around, it’s a man named Dr. Frank Arguello, whose “atavistic chemotherapy” I criticized in one of my typical long posts that also explained why. Last week, I received this e-mail from Dr. Arguello:

Dear Dr. Gorski,

I was recently referred to the online comments you wrote against my efforts to help people with cancer: Comments

I am 100% sure this approach will change the practice of oncology in the world. It will be a historical work, and you and your comments online, even if removed, will live in infamy. We had been previously informed that you contacted the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons in an effort to stop me. Failed!
I believe your actions online are a disservice to the community, particularly with your most recent comments about the science of atavistic oncology, not because you criticize questionable therapies around, but because you do not provide nor make any efforts to improve our current devastating results with conventional therapies.

I am starting to believe what is said about you, that you are a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry. You must be, because my clinical cases (not testimonials as you call them) are so compelling, that your actions can only be explained as coming from a person who does not understand clinical oncology and/or has an agenda to perpetuate our devastating oncological practices.

If you are not a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry, and you are genuinely interested in the science and treatment of cancer, are truly interested in helping people with cancer, and do not want to live forever in infamy, I challenge you to:

(1) Publish this letter next to your posting online and accept my public challenge posted on my website. I have a new patient from Hamilton, Ontario with disseminated melanoma. All medical records and CT-scan images are available from Prince Margaret Hospital in Toronto from as recently as last week. He had an inter-consultation with the Chair of the Melanoma Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Donald Lawrence, and we have his written opinion about that case.

You will not be responsible for expenses as stated in the original challenge on my website. But you will need to comply with all the public and medical scrutiny of the patient, treatment and results over time to be made known publically. I am meeting in Los Cabos with the patient this Saturday, August 16, 2014 to begin treatment. I could discuss this public challenge with him.

If you are in fact a paid agent from the pharmaceutical industry, or just a shameful character and enemy of science and medical progress, I propose the following:

(2) Put a link on the page of your comments, so that people can have a genuine scientific rebuttal to your comments. I would write and post this rebuttal online for this specific purpose.

I would like to clarify that my clinic was opened in Los Cabos in 2013, not 2002. You did not see publications from 2002, because I was working in medicine, but outside academia. Among other things, I was creating with my brothers a state-of-the-art, seven-floor high and now successful private Institute of Sciences and Genomic Medicine in Torreon, Mexico.

Our institute has been visited by many important scientists, most recently by Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a process which is hailed as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century. (

Thank you for your kind consideration of my proposal.

Dr. Frank Arguello

P.S. I have recently compiled a number of articles from the early 1900s and late 1800s on survival times of patients with a variety of cancers. It appears that people live less now with our therapies (chemotherapy and radiation), when compared to untreated disease. Attached is a letter I just sent to an oncologist who contacted me several weeks ago to see if I could treat a patient with esophageal cancer. I rejected the case because it was terminal. In that recent letter, I question our practices, as I did with Dr. Lawrence, whom I mentioned above. I am planning to write an article regarding that, and if interested I could send you a draft prior to submission.

There was an attachment that led to a letter in PDF format from Dr. Arguello to Dr. Was Mansoor, a Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, England. I am not going to provide a direct link to the PDF because it mentions a patient’s name. I will, however, quote the letter dated August 11, expunging any patient-identifiable information:

Dear Dr. Mansoor,

I was contacted by XRX on July N, 2014, to let me know that her brother RXR had died. She mentioned that he died peacefully, but she still felt it was a bitter end to a valiant 18-month fight against the pain and his esophageal cancer. Unquestionably, it was an admirable effort from him as a cancer patient, and you as his oncologist.

In recent years, I have become concerned that patients “fights” against cancer are unfair, and destined to fail, because they are fighting with the wrong weapons. It is a fight where the outcome is already known before the “fight” starts, whether the patient maintains a positive attitude or not. The actual number of deaths due to a given cancer type can be predicted, even years in advance, regardless of our efforts. This trend will continue year after year if we do not change our way of thinking and our oncological practices. Obviously, all cancers are curable, and they have been curable for centuries, if removed completely with surgery before cancer cells have escaped to distant organs. The problem is for those patients in which cancer has escaped curability with surgery. Are we really treating and benefiting those patients with our current treatment approaches?

I have been studying the survival time of people with cancer who were never treated with our modern approaches of chemotherapy and radiation, not even surgery. Since it is extremely rare to find, today, cancer patients not exposed to some form of treatment, I collected papers from the 1800s and the first decades of the 1900s discussing survival time of untreated cancer patients. In the case of esophageal cancer, I found an article which reports the median survival time of 74 untreated patients with esophageal cancer seen at Middlesex Hospital, London, England, between 1883 and 1922. It reports an overall median survival time of 14.7 months (19.4 months for females and 12.1 months for males – with a range of months to several years) (Reference-1924). These are patients who did not receive any form of surgical treatment (medical treatments obviously did not exist at that time other than opium).

In a recent, 2014, study in the Netherlands involving 127 patients with inoperable or irresectable esophageal cancers, patients were divided into two groups – one group received chemotherapy and radiation and the other group radiation alone. The median survival time was 14 and 9 months, respectively (Reference-2014). There could be better survival times reported in the medical literature, but I selected this study because it is a large population of patients with inoperable esophageal cancers, and it emphases to toxicity inflicted in these patients with these forms of therapy.

Obviously, a treatment is of benefit only if it increases for a reasonable period of time the anticipated survival time without that treatment. In theory, we should be doing far better today in 2014 than 100 years ago, because aside from chemotherapy and radiation, we have potent antibiotics, blood transfusions, parenteral feeding, gastrostomies, stents, intensive care units, etc., which did not exist in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But this does not appear to be the case.

I am writing to you because I recently sent an e-mail to Dr. Donald Lawrence at the Massachusetts General Hospital (e-mail attached) with similar shocking findings with respect to our modern treatment for cutaneous and uveal melanomas (attached). I would like to extend the same invitation to you to reconsider what you are doing, what you could do, and invite you to help me to change our current oncological practices by taking my “Public Challenge” posted on my website. Although offered for breast cancer, we will take the challenge treating advanced esophageal cancer.


Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist, Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Frederick, Maryland USA.

Dr. Gorski responds

I don’t know about you, but I find it quite odd that Dr. Arguello refers to himself on his official letters not by simply listing himself as the founder and director of the Atavistic Oncology Clinic, his current position, but by listing his previous positions, the most recent of which (his position at the NCI) he left 14 years ago. This is a signature, not a CV! Of course, the reason Dr. Arguello does this is obvious. It’s to assert to the world that he was once a real scientist and real oncologist, rather than an atavistic oncologist. How many people will mentally ignore the word “former” or even remember it? My immediate reaction upon seeing this was great amusement, and I’m sure that anyone who’s held an academic medical position will be similarly amused upon reading this.

Be that as it may, let’s take a look at the substance, such as it is, of the complaint. First, of all, I never contacted the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons in an effort to stop Dr. Arguello. Perhaps someone else did, someone who was concerned about the spread of cancer quackery in Saskatchewan, but I assure Dr. Arguello that I did not. He can believe me or not. I don’t care, because, if someone really did try to stop him in Saskatchewan, I completely approve.

Next up, Dr. Arguello accuses me of not making any effort to improve existing therapies for cancer. This is, of course, utterly ridiculous, given that I have spent the last 15 years on the faculty of two different NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, where I’ve been funded at different times by private foundations, the NIH, and the Department of Defense to study ways to improve the treatment of breast cancer. Before that, I did laboratory research in what was then the cutting edge field of tumor angiogenesis. In addition, these days I also serve as one of the directors of a state-wide quality improvement initiative for breast cancer treatment. So it’s demonstrably wrong—and easily so!—to claim that I don’t do anything to improve cancer care with my career.

Of course, quality improvement through clinical trials and the mundane but necessary (and grueling) task of encouraging adherence to evidence-based guidelines is not what Dr. Arguello apparently considers to be “improving” cancer care. I’m just not going about it in the way that he approves of. He thinks I should be supporting him. What he doesn’t realize is that I would support him if he could provide evidence that his treatment works significantly better than the current standard of care. That’s the problem. He hasn’t provided such evidence and still doesn’t. Even worse, as I discussed last time, it’s not even clear what exactly he is giving his patients. He doesn’t tell them. He doesn’t provide detailed protocols. He’s so afraid that someone will steal his allegedly revolutionary idea that he doesn’t even tell his patients what they’re getting, except vaguely, unless there is a problem.

So instead Dr. Arguello resorts to the oldest form of ad hominem argument leveled against skeptics: The “pharma shill” gambit. I must admit, I chuckled when he referred to me as a “paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry.” Normally, I wouldn’t make fun of a comment like that coming from someone who is not a native English speaker, but Dr. Arguello lived and worked in the US from 1987 to 2000 and writes reasonably well, if his letters are any indication. Thirteen years in the US ought to have been enough for him to learn the meaning of the word “magnate,” namely someone who has great power and wealth in a particular business or industry. Even if I were a “pharma shill,” I would most definitely not be a pharma magnate (I don’t even run my own company!), and if I really were a pharma magnate does Dr. Arguello honestly think that I’d bother with the likes of him? (Besides, personally, I prefer the term “shill” or “minion.”)

Ignoring the ad hominem, let’s move on to the two “challenges” Dr. Arguello makes. The first part of his challenge is easy. He wants me to publish his letter? I publish his letter! Part one done! I’ll even make sure there’s a link to this in the previous post, and in my response to Dr. Arguello I pointed out that no one is stopping him from diving into the comment section to make his case that I’m a nefarious pharma shill/minion/magnate out to destroy his great new discovery because it will bankrupt the pharmaceutical industry of which I am a magnate. I repeat that offer here. I promise, as editor, that his posts will be approved; that is, unless they become quite abusive. I will also e-mail him a link to this response.

The second part of his challenge is not so easy for a number of reasons, not the least of which are ethical. First, patient challenges like this are not how science is done. To me, they’re unethical, even if the patient gives permission. There’s also the rather major issue of patient confidentiality. I know HIPAA, the patient confidentiality laws in the US, but I don’t know what the equivalent to such laws is in Canada and Mexico. Regardless of what they are, following a patient like this that I’m not taking care of and who is not herself placing her scans and medical records in a publicly accessible repository (as Stanislaw Burzynski patients that I blog about do) makes me very uncomfortable—skeevy, even. So, no. I can’t do that.

I realize that Dr. Arguello thinks he’s making it easier for me by altering his original challenge that is on his website by not requiring me or my cancer center to pay for all patient expenses, but it’s a smokescreen. In this case, it’s one of his patients from Canada. In his original challenge, he expects the doctor (and institution) accepting the challenge to do all the work and bear all the expenses. This would be human subjects research, even if it’s only a single patient, because the treatment is very much nonstandard, even if a lot of what Dr. Arguello proposes is to use existing drugs off-label. Come to think of it, if I were a pharma magnate who happened to own a company that made some of the drugs or vaccines that Dr. Arguello uses for his “atavistic chemotherapy,” I might want to fund him, because if he really did have a treatment so much more effective than standard of care using my drugs off label, well, the profit potential would be fantastic! In any case, no institutional review board (IRB) worth its salt would approve a single patient experimental protocol using a drug protocol in which the drug identities, exact dosing and schedule, and duration of therapy aren’t spelled out in exquisite detail, and I know my IRB wouldn’t approve such a single patient study. Nor should it!

Of course, single case “challenges” are not in general particularly informative, especially for cancers like melanoma, which, as Dr. Arguello should know, can have variable courses, even when diagnosed as stage IV. Indeed, as Dr. Arguello should know, it is unclear whether the dominant driving force in melanoma long-term survivors is the host immune response against the tumor, inherent indolent disease biology, or response to therapy. So, even if Dr. Arguello’s patient were to be fortunate enough to turn out to be one of these long term survivors, it would not constitute compelling evidence that his treatment works. Those of us who’ve taken care of melanoma patients (as I have, albeit in relatively small numbers) or had a partner who takes care of a lot of melanoma patients (as I have) have seen outliers, patients with stage IV melanoma who have survived far longer than expected. The same is true of breast cancer (which, not coincidentally, was the main cancer in Dr. Arguello’s challenge before he made this one to me). That’s why we do clinical trials. A successful clinical trial would impress me far more than a single patient with a type of tumor that can produce long term survivor “outliers,” even in stage IV patients, as breast cancer and melanoma can. Dr. Arguello even seems to acknowledge that, as he turned down a case of esophageal cancer because it was “terminal.” Well, so is stage IV melanoma. Why does he accept stage IV melanoma and breast cancer cases and not esophageal cancer?

Now, I’ll take my lumps for getting one thing wrong. Dr. Arguello didn’t found his current clinic until 2013, and I will correct that in my original post. He does, however, have his El Instituto de Ciencia y Medicina Genómica (Institute of Sciences and Genomic Medicine) and his practice, founded in 2002. A perusal of the website using my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish plus Google Translate reveals that this is a “Mexico-British biotechnology company dedicated to scientific research in the field of gene and cell therapy. We also provide a diverse range of molecular and clinical laboratory analysis to other laboratories and hospitals around the country, as well as doctors and public in general.” Interestingly, I note that this company has contact with Kary Mullis, the Nobel Laureate who is best known for having in essence invented the modern day version of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One wonders what he thinks of atavistic chemotherapy. Or maybe one doesn’t. Mullis, as anyone who’s taken time to look into his history knows, has serious crank tendencies, not the least of which is HIV/AIDS denialism, a belief in astrology, anthropogenic climate change denialism, astral planes, and a belief in alien abduction. If I were Dr. Arguello, I don’t know that I’d be so anxious to advertise a connection with Kary Mullis, at least not if what I wanted was scientific respectability. In any case, what Dr. Arguello’s company appears to offer are molecular analyses for various purposes, including paternity, infectious diseases, genetic diseases, as well as cryopreservation of umbilical cord stem cells and of semen.

Of course, if I am a pharma magnate, Dr. Arguello wants me to “Put a link on the page of your comments, so that people can have a genuine scientific rebuttal to your comments. I would write and post this rebuttal online for this specific purpose.” As I’ve pointed out, though, there’s nothing stopping him from posting a comment after the original article, and there will be nothing stopping him from posting a comment and refuting me to his heart’s content after this post.

His final point rests on a publication from 1924 in which, or so he alleges, that the survival for esophageal cancer was actually better 100 years ago than it is now. To this end, he cites a paper from 1924 and compares it with a paper from 2014. Arguello notes that the median survival reported in 1924 was 19.4 months for females and 12.4 months for males. He then compares this to a series from 2014 examining patients with inoperable esophageal cancer, for whom median survival was 14 months with chemoradiation and 9 months for radiation alone. Does anyone see the problem with this comparison? I did, immediately.

First of all, the way esophageal cancer was diagnosed 100 years ago was very different than the way it is diagnosed now. During the time period when these cases were accumulated, endoscopy wasn’t routinely used. There weren’t even barium swallows. These days, flexible endoscopes with biopsy attachments are used to diagnose lesions of the esophagus. It’s also not a valid comparison to try to compare esophageal cancer in 2014 with 1924 and earlier, particularly cancer from 2014 that is inoperable. After all, what constituted “inoperable” 100 years ago was very different than what constitutes “inoperable” today. It’s a huge difference. Modern surgical technique allows us to remove tumors that no surgeon could have removed 100 years ago without killing the patient. Also, likely mixed in with the 1924 case series are benign tumors such as leiomyomas and tumors of less aggressiveness, given that there is no mention that there was verification by pathology in the paper. Finally, today cancer survival is calculated from time of diagnosis, not time of onset of symptoms. That means from the time that a biopsy is taken and cancer is demonstrated. I notice in the paper that “the natural duration of the disease in each case has been taken as that period which elapsed between the date of reputed onset as determined from the patient’s history and the date of death.” That alone could easily add several months—or even a year or more—to the survival times observed compared to now.

Round two and conclusion

After I responded to Dr. Arguello, he wrote back with a lengthy response. Given that it’s pretty much just repeating the same things again, I won’t be doing a blow-by-blow, but for completeness’ sake I have included it as an addendum to this post. What I will address are a couple of issues in the e-mail.

First, I note the same excuses we’ve heard from time immemorial that dubious practitioners trot out whenever they are challenged over why they don’t do clinical trials. After all, even Stanislaw Burzynski has done clinical trials! Dr. Arguello has done none, but he sure has a lot of excuses! Excuses aside, it is completely unethical to be administering this “atavistic chemotherapy” to patients under anything other than the auspices of a properly designed clinical trial with IRB approval (or approval from the equivalent ethics board in another country, if the trial is done elsewhere). It is even more unethical to charge patients for such a treatment outside of a clinical trial; there’s no excuse for that. (NOTE ADDED: See Addendum #2, where Dr. Arguello responds to this criticism.) I do find it interesting, however, that the Cancer Treatment Centers of American might consider such trials. All I can say is: When it comes to getting IRB approval, good luck with that. You’ll need it. Well, that, and, given the history of CTCA, I can’t think of a more “appropriate” partner for such an endeavor.

Finally, there’s his accusation that I did not read his book (which I didn’t, it’s true) and that I didn’t review the recent literature on cancer atavism. I didn’t need to read his book because (1) if what’s in his book is anything like what’s on his website then I know more than enough to know how incorrect it is and (2) I know it’s wrong because I did review the recent literature on atavism for my last post, including the article by Davies and Lineweaver in Physical Biology entitled “Cancer tumors as Metazoa 1.0: tapping genes of ancient ancestors.” Indeed, I specifically cited that paper and discussed it in my post, along with several others. That Dr. Arguello didn’t notice (or ignored) that fact does not speak well of his observational powers. If Dr. Arguello wants to send me a copy of his book (preferably as an e-book readable on my iPad), I might just read it and review it. Otherwise, I’m not paying for it. In fact, I learned there’s a new article fresh off the press making the same arguments by Lineweaver and colleagues. I might very well have to analyze that one too.

The bottom line is simple. The atavastic hypothesis of cancer, either as described by Lineweaver and Davies or by Dr. Arguello, is not a compelling hypothesis. It’s based on a misunderstanding of evolution and, as I discussed in detail last time, makes no good testable predictions about cancer and cancer treatment that are distinct from approaches that we are already taking in cancer research. Meanwhile, anecdotes demonstrate little or nothing, but it would appear that that’s all we’re going to get from Dr. Arguello. Note in that passage above that, Instead of publishing his results in a peer-reviewed journal, Dr. Arguello is basically declaring himself above it all (“I am not their peer”) and telling us that he will just publish another book. Guess what? I don’t care. It won’t impress me. If Dr. Arguello wants to prove he’s really on to something, the path forward is simple, but not easy: Do the work. Do the science, and do the clinical trials. Until then, don’t charge patients for an unproven treatment based on a dubious hypothesis.

And, as I have repeated before, Dr. Arguello is more than welcome to dive into the comments and demonstrate how mistaken I am—if he can.


The following is the full text of the second e-mail that Dr. Arguello sent:

Dear Dr. Gorski:

I will numerate my comments, because each is a subject in itself:

(1) The Paid Magnate Agent. I was not aware of your existence until I was contacted by the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons (SCPS). That is when I learned about online accusations made against you that you were a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry. Whether you are or not, it is totally irrelevant to me. You do not represent any organization dedicated to enforcing those types of rules, much less in another country. I personally condemn all forms of alternative treatments for cancer, in Tijuana or Germany, and I am starting to question all forms of conventional therapies (other than surgery) as well, but to be involved at a personal level and taking actions against the work of others by contacting agencies goes too far, and into malicious behavior, in my opinion.

(2) Questionable Fairness. Also, it is quite disturbing that you ignored the compelling evidences in my partial gallery of clinical cases on the website, which depict local recurrences of breast cancers after surgery and “prophylactic” chemotherapy and radiation; or progressions of cancers in conventional chemotherapy; or multiple metastases in the lungs, brain, liver, etc. disappearing following atavistic chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Most of them are cancer patients that were previously abandoned by their oncologists and hospitals in Canada, USA or Mexico. So, it would appear that you do not know or understand the evolution of patients in similar circumstances (the names of the hospitals involved, relevant pathological studies, etc., are described in each case). This is in fact a noble and unprecedented work in the history of cancer.

Could you show me any sequences of photos or radiological images of similar cancers (solid tumors) disappearing over time with any other therapy, after failing conventional chemotherapy and radiation? You could not even show me similar responses achieved in chemotherapy-naïve patients with any form of conventional chemotherapy. Radiation can do that but as a localized effect on individual tumors, not in a systemic fashion.

Our conventional therapies (except surgery) do not work for the vast majority of cancer patients. All common cancers are lethal today in 2014, just as it has been for centuries, if they escape curability with surgery. In this country alone, 1,605 men, women and children die every single day from cancer. Cancer is also the leading disease-related cause of death in children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 19 in the USA. The mortality in cancer is increasing at an alarming rate, and I have started to believe that part of that is due to our conventional chemotherapies and radiation which trigger a non-return path to death in cancer patients because it generates resistant and aggressive cancers.

(3) Questionable Fairness #2. You say that “Because we at SBM always strive for accuracy, I will correct the date your clinic opened when I get a chance.” There are many inaccuracies in your comments. Hence my interest in a formal rebuttal, NOT a comment as you suggest, but a side by side discussion so that others may make their own judgments.

As is, it is a one-sided biased view of an important new approach in cancer. You did not provide any references to back up your statements as I do in my website. Your comments are totally your personal biased view of things, which is a completely unfair and improper way to discuss a scientific matter of the magnitude we are talking of here.

You did not even read my book, nor review recent literature on this topic after the publication of my book (see below). The science is there for you to review:

Article #1 Cancer: a de-repression of a default survival program common to all cells?: a life-history perspective on the nature of cancer (2012)

Article #2 Cancer tumors as Metazoa 1.0: tapping genes of ancient Ancestors (2011)

(4) Why I Do Not Publish Your Clinical Trials. I would love to and I will publish these findings, of course. However, you need to take into consideration the following. I started to evaluate this therapy around September 2011 in Mexico basically as a “Proof-of-Concept Study,” which was approved by the Ethical Board of the School of Medicine and State University Hospital of Torreon, Mexico. The treatment has been evolving and improving with time, to the point that I felt confident of its effectiveness and superiority to any conventional approach by 2013. Still, the numbers of patients is small and the therapy is still changing.

In 2013 I contacted the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), the NCI and the Georgia School of Medicine in Augusta (places where I had connections) to consider formal clinical trials. What do you think the response was? I must say, however, that a Dr. Niu from the CTCA in Arizona agreed to run a clinical trial for breast cancer patients. They have more than 10 trials going on, so it will take time.

Also note that I have patent applications filed for “new use” of existing medicines and “new formulations” of existing medicines to protect the credit of my work. Again, I would love to share all the information now, if a large institution agrees to do the work, compensate me for my patents, and put me in a leading position to continue with this work. I hate to keep traveling to Los Cabos.

But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer? I will publish under my terms. I am working on a large publication in the form of a book. This way, others can practice this new oncology and generate proof in their own practice. Count on it.

(5) “…what you propose strikes me as dubious, at best, from an ethical standpoint, even if the patient gives permission. More importantly, single case “challenges” are not in general particularly informative, especially for cancers like melanoma, which, as you know, can have variable courses, even when diagnosed as stage IV.”

I know two stage IV melanoma patients who have had their disease for years. I am well aware of them (10% of melanomas behave in that way). I do not believe it is the immune system, but the nature of those cancers. Otherwise people could experience fever or signs of inflammation in or around the tumors. Despite our insistence, the immune system cannot recognize cancer cells as foreign or antigenic organisms, unless a reason exists for that. Cancer cells, despite being destructive and independent beings, are not foreign to the body. Immune attacks against cancer cells may be mounted against cancer cells, not for being cancer cells as such, but rather because they may express antigens which can be recognized as foreign to the body. These are malignancies in which a virus is known or believed to be involved–some forms of leukemias, Burkitt and Hodgkin lymphomas, or when the cancer cells are antigenic to the host for the nature of the tissue involved. For example, the testicular seminoma and the gestational choriocarcinoma are highly antigenic tissues to the host. Seminal cells appear after birth and therefore aren’t recognized as one’s own during intrauterine development. In gestational choriocarcinoma, the cells are in part foreign (father’s antigens).

Curiously, the only malignancies curable today with conventional chemotherapy and radiation are those mentioned above (no more, no less). HOWEVER, non-testicular (ectopic) seminomas and non-gestational (ectopic) choriocarcinomas, as those arising from in the brain, lung, ovary/teratocarcinomas, etc., are not curable with those therapies (does this ring a bell?).

The old oncology sees groups of patients in clinical trials. This is a failure on their part. It also tries to fit cancer into our concepts of pathology and treatment. Cancer is unique and it does not fit in our criteria of pathology. Cancer is a cellular process and a biological being. Its nature fits perfectly in the criteria postulated by Robert Koch (Koch’s postulates) – it is an agent that is isolable, can be expanded in the lab, and when re-inoculated in a healthy individual the disease is generated. See also contagious cancers.

The new science of Atavistic Oncology recognizes and, it is my experience too, that EACH CANCER IS UNIQUE with respect to its ability to overcome treatments/cytotoxic drugs (note emphasis). In the same way that nature provides diversity among individuals to protect them from foreign cells (bacteria, protozoa and fungi), prevent them from perpetuating genetic defects, etc., that diversity is also reflected in the malignant form of those cells. This new atavistic oncology will eliminate not only our conventional cytotoxic drugs and radiation which are not anticancer agents, but cell poisons, but it will also eliminate the old-fashioned approach of prospective clinical trials and the current treatments of radiation and anticancer drugs. What drugs and combinations have proven helpful in individual cases and in what type of malignancies? Those will serve as a guide to determine prospective treatments on an individual basis. Treatment will be similar to severe bacterial, fungal and protozoa infections, and will consist of trial and error until THAT particular patient starts to respond.

The patient I mentioned to you yesterday is a 52-year-old from Hamilton, ON. He has had a very rapid progression in less than a year, from local recurrence on October 2013 soon after removal of the primary, to multiple surgeries which have disfigured his face (just as with Alice mentioned below), to now having multiple metastases in the lungs, liver and spleen (based on CT-scans). I am afraid they are also in the brain and bone if evaluated with an MRI and a bone scan/bone biopsy, respectively. In the last three months, from the CT-scan in March 2014 to the CT-scan of August 2014, the number and size of metastases doubled. Now there are two, possibly three large metastases in the liver, 20 or so in the lungs and two in the spleen. This is under Dacarbazine.

What ethical matters are you concerned about? The patient is going to die if he continues on conventional treatments. The ethical thing to do here is to abandon our current practices that are ineffective. One person with melanoma dies in the USA every 57 minutes under conventional chemotherapy/immunotherapy.

Please note that I have two other melanoma patients with rapidly progressive melanomas: Barbara without any therapy offered in BC, Canada because of large brain metastases and given three months of life–That was seven months ago and going (the case you conveniently ignored in the gallery. But those images are never seen with our conventional therapies), and Alice who exhausted all treatments offered in Toronto (Dacarbazine, Ipilimumab which destroyed her pituitary gland, IL-2 therapy). That was more than a year ago (also in the gallery).

Which ethical and privacy issues are you concerned about if we have written consent to cover all aspects related to treatment using off-label practices of FDA approved drugs?

Whether you accept the challenge or not, the patient needs to try to save or prolong his life. Treating them in the correct way (atavistic chemotherapy and immunotherapy) is the ethical thing to do here.

I have tried to cover all your concerns now because my trip to Los Cabos is tomorrow. I hope you are a serious person interested in reconsidering our devastating and totally useless oncological practices in benefit of our fellow humans. Please post either of my two e-mails to you on your site, so that you do not deprive people from the opportunity to be treated correctly. Accept my challenge and then, and only then, you can give whatever advice you want to people. Again, your preemptive attacks are totally improper and unjustified. Just because we can write things on the internet, does not mean we are free to speak our minds. Not on this important, potentially life-saving matter.




This is an e-mail sent by Dr. Arguello last night after learning my response would go live:

Dear David,

If you response is in regards to my two previous e-mails, you would need to post my two previous e-mails and allow me to respond to your final “response,” in order to be fair.

At this point we are even. You come from nowhere and list a number of personal views on cancer and on my work, I responded. You responded
l with another e-mail questioning many things, and calling it to be a dubious challenge. I responded to that e-mail. If you want to respond to that last e=mail I must have the opportunity to respond. Otherwise, there are three versions from you, and two mine.

I must add that perhaps you do not know that I never charged patients for this treatment until 2013 and I still do not charge a penny to people in less favored countries such as my patients in Mexico, Greece and Slovenia (name and contact info available). My charge to people in the USA and Canada is very reasonable and affordable –$1,500 USD /month -all included x 6 months to those with limited resources or 12 months to those who do not request facilities. If treatment takes longer than 12 months, the continuation of treatment is without cost.

Thank you!


PS. With regards to those hopeless cases of melanoma I have treated and reversed that. Please feel free to contact them:

NOTE: I will not publish patient names and have thus removed this part.


And this is the e-mail sent to me earlier this morning, apparently after Dr. Arguello saw this post:


I now know who you are. Your are not a magnate agent from the pharmaceutical industry. They could not hire such an incompetent person. They would hire a person with weight, with a scientific record to count. I believe you are simply a frustrated physician who has failed as a doctor and scientists and wants to create some name insulting and slandering others. You are not a magnate agent from any organization, other than a narcissist psychopath, a toxic/poisonous individual who defends HIS opinions.

I will discuss your case with a lawyer in your state because your comments cannot be seen as scientific opinions, but slanderous, personal comments which are creating financial damage in my practice. I hope you have some money or properties to recover part of the damages.

If you have knowledge in cancer, you have not shown it with your meager number of publications, where you are principal author in two or three obscure publications, a decade or two ago, and in a totally irrelevant subject to the problem of cancer.

I cannot give your more time. You have no experience in cancer research, nor clinical oncology, discussing the problem of cancer with you is equivalent to discuss it with a taxi driver. You only defend David’s opinion, you have absolutely no conception of the principles if honesty and fairness.

We will put a banner in our website with my second e-mail and this one, and I will categorically state that you are not qualified to discuss cancer research or clinical oncology. From your papers, I do not know if you are good in anything. I am telling you this with all honesty. I believe you are just alive in the field because of your slanderous work.


This was my response:

Dr. Arguello,

I have corrected the factual error I made in the first post, which was relatively minor and didn’t affect the overall discussion.

If there are any factual errors in this post, I am willing to correct them, if you would point them out. As a further demonstration of my good faith, I will now post your previous e-mail and this e-mail as well as a second addendum to the post.

The rest is my opinion, which is that I do not think your work has sufficient evidence to justify giving it to patients outside of a clinical trial. I have marshaled considerable literature and analysis to support that opinion. It is disappointing that you are unable to answer that opinion with science, but instead resort to ad hominem attacks (“pharma magnate” and “narcissist psychopath”) and legal threats. Very disappointing, indeed.


P.S. My publication record might not be awe-inspiring (as in hundreds of publications), but it is not insubstantial, either:

I note that I’m perfectly fine with Dr. Arguello posting links to his letters on his website as a rebuttal to my criticisms. I am fine with the free exchange of ideas, even harsh criticism of what I write. I would, however, caution Dr. Arguello. If he’s going to be thinking about suing for libel, he might want to be careful about what he retains in those letters. Calling me a narcissistic psychopath on his website could be considered libelous.


Here is another e-mail from Dr. Arguello dated 8/19/2014 4:26 PM EDT:

Dr. Gorski,

For historical reasons, I have been replying in detail and respectfully to your defamatory statements in your original piece posted in your website. I really find it difficult to discuss the science and treatment of cancer with you, because I believe you do not understand the biology of cancer, but also you have the mentality of those inside the box. You never think outside the box, and cannot conceive concepts that are outside the box, and therefore alien to you.

(1) Your Old Thinking: You want to judge my work with YOUR way of thinking. The treatment and cure of cancer will be accomplished with a new scientific way of thinking and with drugs you have not conceived (outside the box), otherwise you or others would have found a cure for cancer decades ago.

Question: If one day we find a way to cure cancer medically (with medicines), do you think it will be with the same thinking and drugs we have been using for 70 years in the case of chemotherapy, or 100 years with radiation? Or will it be with a different way of thinking and drugs?

All the work that you and others are doing is totally useless and it has been useless for decades. All the genetic and metabolic abnormalities found in cancer cells are not the cause of cancer, they are a CONSEQUENCE of cancer (of atavistic transformation).

(2) Your Interpretation of Clinical Trials: It is very easy for you to throw around the word “clinical trials,” not only because you do not understand what a clinical trial conveys, but also because you don’t understand that the new science and correct treatment of cancer. Clinical trials, as you conceive them, are the result of our stupidity regarding study cancer treatments for the last 70 years. I already told you that my clinical proposal and consent form were reviewed and approved by the ethical committee of the hospital where it was initiated. These are called “Proof-of-Concept” study.

Eventually, clinical studies will be carried out, once the therapy is established as such. I already told you, this is an individualized therapy, and evolving therapy consisting of many drugs, and can only be compared with the natural course of the disease. The trial is does it prolog the life of this person when compared with no treatment at all based on historical controls? Current clinical trials are based on responses on the size of tumor or survival time as compared to other past intoxications. Ignoring that people could live longer and better without those treatments.

When Ether came into clinical use by Morton in the late 1840s (now we have ANESTHESIA), he did not conduct clinical trials to compare ether with the old method of intoxicating the patient with whiskey to see which was better.

When Lister introduced the use of carbolic acid in the 1880s for the prevention of infections of surgical wounds or injuries of war, and created ANTISEPSIA, he did not conduct clinical trials to compare carbolic acid with boiling oil applied to wounds as used to be done at that time.

When Sulfonamides and Penicillin were introduced in the late 1930 and early 1940s to treat infected wounds or systemic infections during war, they did not compare them with arsenic or mercury used before those discoveries. These moves created ANTIBIOTIC CHEMOTHERAPY.

ATAVISTIC CHEMOTHERAPY AND IMMUNOTHERAPY cannot be compared with conventional chemotherapy and radiation used today (equivalent to alcohol, boiling oil, and mercury mentioned above). It can only be compared with the natural history of the disease as such. I already told you that conventional chemotherapy and radiation appear to offer less survival time to patients with cancer as compared with the natural history of the disease. We have enough historical controls to prove that.

(3) Defamation (Slander and Libel): If you express your scientific or vernacular opinions on DCA, marijuana, ketogenic diets, the ugliness of frogs at night, the existence of ghosts, etc., there are no legal consequences for that in the country in which I am a citizen (USA), and the countries you specifically mentioned in your internet piece (Canada and Mexico).

But when you name a person, a business, a product, brand, a service, etc., you are entering a new terrain protected by laws in each country, and international laws. Although some journalists may be immune to them, because of lawful reasons, you are not. If your comments are made publicly (verbally or written), for example, that Justin Bieber is selfish and rude, and he should go back to Canada, there may be no consequence for that either. But if you express publicly (verbally or written) that Justin Bieber does not sing, but howls, and he should not be hired to sing at any event, then you will pay the consequences of that. Whether you are right or not about his singing, that is your personal opinion. You are potentially ruining his career, reputation, credibility, work, and the financial compensation of his work as a singer. In the case of Bieber, that could cost you millions for libel/defamation for damages in his countries of work.

When you publicly state in an international venue, such as the internet, that “Dr. Arguello’s treatment is dubious and it should be avoided,” that will cost you, too. Perhaps not millions as in the case of Bieber, but enough to compensate me for the potential damage caused to my practice now and in the future not only regarding my ability to make money, but for exposing me to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

Now, because you dislike Justin Bieber, you are not free to slander and advocate that he should not be hired. In the USA, Canada and Mexico we have “defamatory libel” and “blasphemous/malicious libel.” In Canada, both are crimes punishable by a maximum term of two years in prison. In the specific case of a “libel known to be false,” the prison term increases to a maximum of five years. A defamatory libel “is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.” I am not interested in jail time, but in the economic damage I am already experiencing because of your posting.

I personally believe that all alternative and conventional cancer treatments are in their great majority scams to make money. Conventional chemotherapy is in reality an elegant scam to make money, too, by the industries that benefit from this commerce. Nobody is cured and their lifespans likely reduced. Eventually I will prove and publish this. There is no need to name people, but mistaken philosophies.

I had a short conversation with my lawyer concerning this matter, and it appears that you have been crossing the line and targeting people by name. I am wondering if I should join forces with others as a class suit, or do it alone. The question is how much can we get from you and your cronies?

(4) Final Thoughts: Please do not say that I am threatening you with legal action. I am not threatening; I am telling you what I am going to do. I am just tired of discussing this in a mature way with you. I personally feel you are a narcissist and sociopath, who does not help in the problem of cancer, but tries to perpetuate it. You are not qualified to judge this type of work. The real and sad part of this is this:


YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND what is to do what I do, the great personal and economic sacrifices I have made to create a potential venue to help people with cancer. This is aside from sharing with them and their families their anxieties, uncertainties, pain, losses and sorrows. As the saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

You need to provide solutions or get out of the way.


P.S. I know that these e-mails will become public someday, from there that I have not been using my French on you. Suffice to say that I am fluent in French when someone interferes, for no reason, in this important work. This is aside of slandering me.

Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Frederick, Maryland USA.

I do not see the point of responding further to Dr. Arguello other than to say that from now on I will be posting any threatening e-mails he sends me as additional addendums to this post and to say that Dr. Arguello apparently does not understand the First Amendment, free speech, and the difference between opinion and libel, not to mention the difference between criticizing his treatment and the lack of evidence for it compared to attacking him personally.


Dr. Arguello complains to my place of work in an e-mail dated 8/20/2014 5:05 PM EDT:

Dear Drs. Weaver, Steffes and Yoo,

Respectfully, would like to call your attention to a number of disturbing experiences I have been subjected to by one of your staff members in your department of surgery, Dr. David Gorski.

I am a well-educated and respected oncologist-scientist, with academic trajectories at the University of Connecticut Health Center, The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and its James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, where I was a James P. Wilmot Fellow for three years, and later Assistant Professor of Oncology, and Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Later, I joined the Department of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Few, but meaningful publications on the mechanisms of metastatic spread, skeletal metastases, spinal cord compression from vertebral metastases, as well as the trial of several experimental drugs resulted from that work: (

In my efforts to find a better way to understand and treat cancer, and after a year of reviewing the medical literature of other biological explanations as to the malignant behavior of cancer cells, I became aware of an old concept that originated with the father of pathology, Rudolf Virchow, in 1888. This concept has been brought into light several times over the last 100 years, but has not been pursued. I collected all this information and published a book entitled “Atavistic Metamorphosis: A New and Logical Explanation for the Origin and Biological Nature of Cancer Cells.” ( Briefly, this is a concept based on the evolution of life (cells) on this planet, which explains cancer as a de-evolution, a reversion of a differentiated cell to its ancestral, primitive, undifferentiated unicellular form from which all multicellular organisms originated from. The re-expression of ancient genes in a cell or organism is known in biology as “Atavism” (from Latin Atavus, ancestor or grandfather).

In 2011, I obtained approval from the Ethical Board Committee of a University Hospital in Torreon, Mexico to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate what I called “Atavistic Chemotherapy” on hopeless cancer patients. Torreon is my city of birth, although I have been living in the USA for almost 30 years; one of my brothers practices medicine there after receiving medical training in London.

The treatment consists of a combination of FDA-approved cytostatic and cytocidal drugs known to be effective against primitive unicellular organisms (protozoa, fungi and bacteria cells). Although the therapy is still evolving, the results in hopeless cancer patients are so compelling that speak for themselves. I invite you to see a partial gallery of clinical cases depicting images of cancers before and during treatment at: PLEASE NOTE: the results you will see in the sequence of images depicted in each case are without the use of conventional “anticancer drugs.”

Dr. Gorsik’s harassing stated when I prepared two conferences on this new interpretation and treatment of cancer in Saskatchewan, Canada. Soon after, I received a letter from Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons that Dr. Gorski had contacted them to warn them that I was not licensed to practice medicine in Saskatchewan. I have given presentations in the past at McGill University Department of Surgery in Montreal, where the head of the Sarcoma Team, Dr. Robert Turcotte, knows my work. I also co-authored, years ago, a book with Dr. William Orr, Head of Pathology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. So, Dr. Gorski was ignored once they learned about my qualifications.

Days later, Dr. Gorski posted online a number of defamatory statements about me, the atavistic nature of cancer cells which has been published by others before, and my treatment approach. Link:

He believes that his website is a Medical Journal and that he is the Editor, but in reality this is just an unsophisticated venue for him to insult people and release his frustrations as a failed cancer researcher, because he does not have any ideas of his own. If he has some ideas on cancer or opposes the views of others for a better one, or if he has something to say against the science of atavistic oncology, my views or that of others published over the years starting with Virchow, he should do it through the existing venues we have as professional physicians to express our opinions, results, etc. – Medical Journals. But not by slandering people via a website.

I have contacted a law firm in Ohio which specializes in libel and slander via the internet. I just wanted to let you know that since he uses his affiliation with Wayne School of Medicine to boost his credibility, you could be also named in that suit. I perfectly understand that you do not support or review his writing on his website, but it is impossible for a lawyer not to see the direct connection between his defamatory work on that website and you in the same line of work.


Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Frederick, Maryland USA.

Note that Dr. Weaver is my departmental chair; Dr. Yoo is the chief medical officer at my hospital; and Dr. Steffes hasn’t worked at our hospital for four or five years.


And the beat goes on, with another e-mail dated 8/21/2014 5:08 PM EDT:

Dr. Gorski,

I am kindly ask you to remove all your online postings regarding me and my work. The lawyer who is investigating this case has identified several reproductions in other websites that end with .org and suspect associated to you. He told me the names by phone, but I only remember the .org.

I am ready to send an e-mail to the Dean Dr. Parisi, and a large list of deans of your school. But I wanted to give you the opportunity to assure me you will remove that. I do not want to embarrass you more than you have embarrassed me, but I will have no mercy on you until you remove those defamatory statements. If I can recover money for damage I will certainly will do that if you persist.

If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.


Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Frederick, Maryland USA.

You know. I was worried before, but now I’m almost starting to feel sorry for this guy.



Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.