Written by Karen Pilkington and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated September 11, 2013

Ozone therapy

Abstract and key points

  • Ozone is an unstable, colourless gas present in the atmosphere
  • Evidence on ozone therapy in cancer patients is lacking
  • Inhalation and direct injection can result in severe adverse effects. Safety of mixing with blood which is re-injected is not proven

Ozone (O3) is an unstable gas found in the atmosphere where it protects against solar radiation. It has been produced by specialised generators for therapeutic use.

Ozone therapy can involve body saunas, insufflation into body cavities (not the lungs), application to joints and lesions, and mixing with the patient’s blood and reinjection (autohaemotherapy). It has also been used as a disinfectant.

It has been claimed that ozone therapy has immunomodulatory and immunoactivating properties, and can correct tumour hypoxia.

In vitro and animal studies have shown changes in various biological parameters but there have been few trials in humans for any condition and no randomised controlled trials in cancer patients.

Ozone has been shown to be toxic to the lungs and dangerous if directly injected intravenously. Few adverse effects have been reported for autohaemotherapy but assessment of safety has been limited to date.

While apparently widely used, evidence on the proposed benefits in cancer patients is lacking and safety has not been proven.


Karen Pilkington, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Ozone therapy [online document]. http://www.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Other-CAM/Ozone-therapy. September 11, 2013.

Document history

Updated/assessed as up to date by Barbara Wider in September 2013.
Summary first published in October 2012, authored by Karen Pilkington.


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