I’m writing today to say “I told you so” to the medical community. Which is always fun.
Here’s why: I’ve been talking for such a long time about the importance of reducing inflammation in the body. I’ve mentioned research that’s linked excess inflammation to everything from chronic pain to cancer. But today’s research might be the strongest yet.
A quick inflammation primer first: To start with, a little of it is a good thing. When you hurt yourself or get an infection, an inflammatory response increases blood flow and allows white blood cells to get to the injury or infection. Then, the inflammation goes away. But when it doesn’t go away, that’s called chronic inflammation. And that’s the result, largely, of poor dietary choices and a lack of exercise. (My Hamptons diet is designed to fight inflammation; sugar and carbs, on the other hand, cause it.)
Now, new research shows that preexisting inflammation in the body may promote the spread of cancer. The researchers used mice to show that inflammation raises the level of a known biomarker of cancer, called “chitinase-3-like-1” or “CHI3L1,” in the inflamed tissue. And that leads to faster metastasis (spreading)–and faster cancer growth–in that tissue.
Researchers looked at two groups of mice. One was genetically modified so it wasn’t able to produce the CHI3L1 glycoprotein. The other was left normal. Then they induced the two groups of mice to become asthmatic, and challenged them with breast cancer cells. The tumors in the mice that couldn’t produce the CHI3L1 expression did not grow as fast. These mice also had less spreading of the cancer to the lungs. This proved that CHI3L1 is an inflammatory protein that promotes the growth and spread of cancer.
In the words of the study’s principal investigator, Vijaya L. Iragavarapu-Charyulu, Ph.D., from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University:
“The research we have done is striking in that we showed pre-existing inflammation may be one of the factors that accelerates metastasis to the inflamed site. We hope that this study is a fundamental building block for future studies on how other inflammatory diseases may predispose patients for increased metastasis.”
And this from John Wherry, Ph.D., deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, in which the research report was published:
“There is increasing evidence of a link between inflammation and cancer. While normally inflammation helps us fight off infections, chronic inflammation has been linked to increased risk of tumor development. These new studies begin to shed light on an important way this link between inflammation and malignancy may work, providing a potential starting point for developing inflammation-based therapeutics to treat cancer.”
He had me right up until the end. Inflammation-based therapeutics? How about just eating right and taking the right supplements?!
For details on what you can do to fight inflammation, see the lead article in my June 2012 Logical Health Alternatives newsletter, titled “The single, secret cause of your most nagging aches and pains.” Paid subscribers can view it online in the archives for free. If you’re not yet a subscriber, you can become one here.
And, for more, you can also search the drpescatore.com archives for the term “inflammation.” You’ll get additional tips on how to keep this enemy at bay.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Pre-existing inflammation may promote the spread of cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430113205.htm.