By Tracey Watson
Traditional cancer treatments cause inflammation, promoting aggressive tumor growth, according to study
The study, conducted by a research team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that the dead and dying cancer cells created by chemotherapy trigger inflammation which in turn promotes “aggressive tumor growth.”
“In this study we demonstrate that chemotherapy-generated debris from dead and dying tumor cells can stimulate tumor growth, which has pivotal implications for the treatment of cancer patients,” said Dipak Panigrahy, MD, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at BIDMC’s Department of Pathology. “Conventional cancer therapy designed to kill tumor cells is inherently a double-edged sword.” [Emphasis added]
News Wise notes that this research reinforces what the medical community has known since at least the 1950s, but it is the first study to try to determine the exact molecular mechanisms that cause this phenomenon.
Researchers have long understood that there is a distinct link between inflammation and cancer. A study published in the journal Nature in 2010, for example, noted:
Recent data have expanded the concept that inflammation is a critical component of tumour progression. Many cancers arise from sites of infection, chronic irritation and inflammation. It is now becoming clear that the tumour microenvironment [the infrastructure supporting the tumor], which is largely orchestrated by inflammatory cells, is an indispensable participant in the neoplastic process, fostering proliferation, survival and migration.
So, inflammation causes cancer – the medical community is aware of that – but here’s the kicker: The BIDMC study found that chemotherapy causes inflammation, which is why it is “a double-edged sword.” The very treatment that kills the cancer cells simply causes more to grow. And, not only does chemotherapy create cancerous tumors, but it actually spreads cancer throughout the body.