Monday, October 19, 2015

Antioxidants may boost cancer spread

CANCER DIGEST ­– Oct. 19, 2015 - 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 cancer patients. 
The study done in mice suggests a mechanism that may explain why cancer patients have often had worse outcomes in clinical trials involving giving antioxidants to these patients.
Dr. Sean Morrison, director of pediatric genetics, UT

 “The idea that antioxidants are good for you and has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants,” Dr. Sean Morrison director of pediatric genetics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said in a press release. “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.”
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.

“We discovered that metastasizing melanoma cells experience very high levels of oxidative stress, which leads to the death of most metastasizing cells,” said Morrison. “Administration of antioxidants to the mice allowed more of the metastasizing melanoma cells to survive, increasing metastatic disease burden.”

While the study’s results have not yet been tested in people, they raise the possibility that cancer should be treated with pro-oxidants, or treatments that increase the oxidative process, and that cancer patients should not supplement their diet with large doses of antioxidants. 

The study does not affect long-standing cancer prevention advice for healthy people to consume foods high in antioxidants. 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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment