Study shows antioxidant use may promote spread of cancer

Study shows antioxidant use may promote spread of cancer
Dr. Sean Morrison, CRI Director and Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern Credit: UT Southwestern

A team of scientists at the Children's Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has made a discovery that suggests cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells, raising concerns about the use of dietary antioxidants by patients with cancer. The studies were conducted in specialized mice that had been transplanted with melanoma cells from patients. Prior studies had shown that the metastasis of human melanoma cells in these mice is predictive of their metastasis in patients.

Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells disseminate from their primary site to other parts of the body, leads to the death of most cancer patients. The CRI team found that when antioxidants were administered to the mice, the cancer spread more quickly than in mice that did not get antioxidants. The study was published online today in Nature.

It has long been known that the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another is an inefficient process in which the vast majority of cancer cells that enter the blood fail to survive.

"We discovered that metastasizing experience very high levels of oxidative stress, which leads to the death of most metastasizing cells," said Dr. Sean Morrison, CRI Director and Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Administration of antioxidants to the mice allowed more of the metastasizing melanoma cells to survive, increasing metastatic disease burden."

"The idea that antioxidants are good for you has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants," added Dr. Morrison, who is also a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "Some of those trials had to be stopped because the patients getting the antioxidants were dying faster. Our data suggest the reason for this: cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than do."

Healthy people who do not have cancer may very well benefit from antioxidants that can help reduce damage from highly reactive oxidative molecules generated by normal metabolism. While the study's results have not yet been tested in people, they raise the possibility that cancer should be treated with pro-oxidants and that should not supplement their diet with large doses of .

"This finding also opens up the possibility that when treating cancer, we should test whether increasing oxidative stress through the use of pro-oxidants would prevent metastasis," said Dr. Morrison. "One potential approach is to target the folate pathway that melanoma cells use to survive oxidative stress, which would increase the level of in the ."


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More information: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature15726
Journal information: Nature

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Oct 14, 2015
this might be specific to skin cancer as antioxidants inhibit free radicals that cause damage

Oct 14, 2015
"The idea that antioxidants are good for you has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants," added Dr. Morrison, who is also a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "Some of those trials had to be stopped because the patients getting the antioxidants were dying faster. Our data suggest the reason for this: cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells do."

More than just skin cancer.

Oct 15, 2015
So free-radicals double as immune mechanism?

Oct 15, 2015
Do you mean the "cure is right around the corner so give" cancer research that has been going on for 70+ years, with today, 1/3 people getting it? So chemo, radiation and surgery don't cause and spread it? These criminals have been fighting real cures for a century! Sure, I'll believe those barbaric butchers and the three letter gov't money whores.
Get your flu shots, suckers!

JRi
Oct 15, 2015
I think there has been at least one lung cancer study, where some patients were given vitamin A+E and other patients just placebo. They stopped that study prematurely when they statistically saw clearly higher mortality in the vitamin A+E group.

Oct 16, 2015
This article presents only half the story. It applies when you already have a cluster of cancer cells. But antioxidants will prevent the formation of such clusters in the first place. Secondly, smart antioxidant such as PQQ deplete glutathione from cancer cells and terminate them.

It should be absolutely no surprise that when a patient is undergoing chemo, they're forbidden from antioxidant supplements.

Oct 21, 2015
The reason people on chemo and radiation are not supposed to take antioxidants is because the antioxidants begin to heal the cancerous tissue too fast during chemo and radiation. So the radiation is not as effective, and might have to be lengthened to get the desired effect. Once treatment is over, the doctors said antioxidants were fine. I hope so since they are the only treatment that helps to slow macular degeneration.

Oct 29, 2015
This is great information from the quacks that have been doing such a great job profiting from the "war on Cancer". Which medical / big pharma mob funded this hack's "research"?

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