The products of Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo biloba) were used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments; today they are still used as a dietary supplement for memory enhancement and for conditions including dementia, tinnitus, and ocular issues.1

Supplementation with Ginkgo extract has been evaluated in several clinical trials. While in vitro studies suggest that Ginkgo extract may have anticancer properties, human studies have failed to demonstrate a benefit.

Risk of Cancer

Large epidemiologic studies suggest that supplementation with Ginkgo does not affect the risk of cancer. An analysis of 3069 participants aged 75 or older from the randomized, placebo-controlled Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study found no association with the use of Ginkgo extract (120 mg twice daily) and overall cancer incidence.2

Though there were trends toward increased incidence of breast (hazard ratio [HR], 2.15; 95% CI, 0.97-4.80; P = .06) and colorectal (HR, 1.62; 95% CI, 0.92-2.87; P = .10) cancers and a lower incidence of prostate cancer (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.43-1.17; P = .18), the associations were not significant.

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An analysis of 35,239 males aged 50 to 76 from the Vitamins and Lifestyles (VITAL) cohort study, however, found no association with Ginkgo use and prostate cancer.3 Another analysis of the VITAL study, which included 77,050 subjects, also found no association between Ginkgo use and urothelial carcinoma.4