Ingredients found in hair dye and anti-ageing cream could delay breast cancer progression by two years, scientists believe.
Early research suggests they boost the effectiveness of radiotherapy when injected into a tumour before treatment.
The cocktail of hydrogen peroxide, which bleaches hair, and hyaluronic acid, which moisturises skin, costs less than £100.
Early research suggests they boost the effectiveness of radiotherapy when injected into a tumour before treatment. The chemical is found in hair dye (above)
Out of a dozen patients in a phase one trial, 11 (92 per cent) were still seeing benefits one year later.
Their tumours had either vanished, shrunk or grown no bigger. The typical rate without the injection is 60 to 65 per cent, according to the Institute of Cancer Research, London.
The men and women on the trial had incurable disease, an average age of 77, and were either unsuitable for surgery or declined it.
They were injected with the gel-like mix twice a week an hour before standard radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden hospital, west London.
Ingredients found in hair dye and anti-ageing cream could delay breast cancer progression by two years, scientists believe
The study has now been expanded to five hospitals and is recruiting more patients.
The research, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, found that one woman's tumour vanished after three months and she was still free of it two years later.
Another was injected with the cocktail in one of her tumours but not in two others. Only the injected tumour maintained a 'partial response', meaning it was at least 30 per cent smaller at 12 months.
If the mixture is proven to work in a larger number of breast cancer cases, it is hoped it will work in other cancers treated with radiotherapy.
Hydrogen peroxide is a cheap chemical which, in a medical setting, can trigger a type of programmed cell death called apoptosis which can help fight cancer.
A total course of treatment would cost less than £2,000.
Dr Navita Somaiah, of the ICR and Marsden, said: 'Hydrogen peroxide is as 'cheap as chips' and our study shows it could be an extremely cost-effective way of boosting treatment... We have seen some impressive results and I believe it has the potential to slow progression of the disease by around two years.'