Cancer: vitamin C, an accelerator of metastases?

Cancer vitamin C an accelerator of metastases

A Swedish study shows that taking vitamin C and other antioxidants in the form of dietary supplements can stimulate the formation of new blood vessels in lung tumors.

According to the study of the study of Karolinska Institutet published on August 31 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the food supplements containing antioxidants such as vitamin C could accelerate tumor growth and metastasis. “We discovered that antioxidants activate a mechanism that causes cancerous tumors to form new blood vesselswhich is surprising because Antioxidants were previously thought to have a protective effect, commented Martin Bergö, head of the study and vice-president of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. THE new blood vessels nourish tumors and can help them grow and spread.”

How is it possible ?

Professor Bergö’s research group had already shown that antioxidants like vitamins C and E could accelerate the growth and spread of lung cancer by stabilizing a protein called BACH1. BACH1 is notably activated when the level of oxygen free radicals decreases, which occurs when you take antioxidant supplements precisely to counter the harmful effect of free radicals on the body. By studying organoids – small microtumors cultured in patients – but also mice and samples of human breast and kidney tumors, scientists have now shown that BACH1 activation induced the formation of new blood vessels what is called angiogenesis. A discovery that raises concerns about the excessive use of dietary supplements containing antioxidants, especially in patients with cancer or at high risk of cancer.

“Most people do not need additional amounts of antioxidants”

The researchers emphasize, however, that the harms are observed with “too high doses” antioxidants. “There is no need to fear the presence of antioxidants in the normal diet, but most people do not need them in additional quantities”, has underlined Professor Bergö. What the French health authorities confirm: “Taking a dietary supplement will be justified to cover a nutritional need that cannot be covered by common foodsarguehandles on its site before recalling that “the consumption of food supplements is not not a trivial act” and “any food supplement should be taken beforehand discussed with a healthcare professional”. The Swedish researchers hope that this study paves the way for more effective treatments to prevent angiogenesis. They also highlight the need for further research to assess the clinical relevance of these findings in other types of cancers.