Definition of Laetrile in US English:



  • A compound extracted from amygdalin, formerly used controversially to treat cancer.

    • ‘Gather together dried apricot pits, we'll fleece the dying by calling it Laetrile: a cancer cure.’
    • ‘A prime example is Laetrile (laevo-mandelonitrile-beta-glucuronoside), a useless and poisonous drug promoted for cancer treatment.’
    • ‘The notion that vitamins and colloidal minerals, herbs, coffee enemas, colonic irrigation, Laetrile, meditation, etc., can enhance the immune system and thereby help restore health is bogus.’
    • ‘His father got sick, he wanted to bring Laetrile into the country.’
    • ‘Vitamin B17, or Laetrile, is found plentifully in apricot stone kernels and is thought to play a role in reducing inappropriate cell division which occurs in malignant tumours.’


1950s: from a blend of levorotatory and nitrile.