Written by Edzard Ernst and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 28, 2017

Shark cartilage

Abstract and key points

  • Medication is made from the cartilage of two shark species
  • There is no good evidence that shark cartilage or ingredients of shark cartilage are of benefit for cancer patients
  • No major safety concerns have been reported

Shark cartilage is a popular anti-cancer remedy, which is obtained from the cartilage of mainly two shark species.

Even though some basic research suggests that shark cartilage has anti-angiogenic and cytotoxic effects, there is no evidence from five controlled and eight uncontrolled studies to show that it is helpful in the treatment of cancer.

Records of adverse effects exist for the oral supplementation of shark cartilage as well as the injection or enema procedure but no serious events are on record.


Edzard Ernst, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Shark cartilage [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Shark-cartilage. February 28, 2017.

Document history

Assessed as up to date in April 2016 by Barbara Wider.
Assessed as up to date in April 2016 by Barbara Wider.
Most recent update and revision in April 2013 by Edzard Ernst.
Fully revised and updated in November 2011 by Edzard Ernst.
Fully revised and updated in April 2010 by Edzard Ernst.
Summary first published in September 2005, authored by Edzard Ernst.


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