Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), a condition that occurs when a large number of cancer cells die within a short period, releasing their contents in to the blood. The endotoxins (toxic debris released from our own cells) need to be cleared by the liver and kidneys to get out of the body.

TLS is only a problem when cancer cells break down quickly. Such is usually the case only with chemotherapy and/or radiation. When endotoxins spill rapidly into the blood, the levels of uric acid, potassium, and phosphorus rise faster than the kidneys can remove them. Excess phosphorus can “sop up” calcium, leading to low levels of calcium in the blood. Changes in blood levels of uric acid, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium can affect the functioning of several organs, especially the kidneys, and also the heart, brain, muscles, and gastrointestinal tract.

This is a more common issue with patients with a large “tumor burden” of cancer cells and/or tumors that typically have rapidly dividing cells, such as acute leukemia or high-grade lymphoma. Patients who are dehydrated, not supporting detoxification pathways, and those not actively trying to utilize other organs of detoxification (those not using coffee enemas, saunas, or taking nutrition to support pathways) as well as those with existing kidney dysfunction are at higher risk of developing TLS.

According to recent research, symptoms are generally nonspecific and can include:

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

  • Lack of appetite and fatigue

  • Dark urine, reduced urine output, or flank pain

  • Numbness, seizures, or hallucinations

  • Muscle cramps and spasms

  • Heart palpitations

Kidney failure and death can occur, especially if TLS is left untreated.

TLS is diagnosed based on blood tests, along with signs and symptoms. Its onset may be subtle, with only a few abnormal laboratory values, but it can also present with frank kidney and organ failure.

What to do?

Consider the following:

  • Support the liver and kidneys with nutrition and a good diet
  • Consider saunas
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Consider well-balanced mineral supplements
  • Consider coffee enemas
  • Take care to prevent constipation

symptoms and signs of tumor lysis syndrome