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Supplements may be harmful if you have cancer | Blog | County Pathology Ltd

Supplements may be harmful if you have cancer


Research suggests that just as antioxidants protect healthy cell they may also protect cancer cells.
Even though the data are preliminary, findings from a new study may shed some light on why supplementing with antioxidants may be a bad idea for patients with cancer.

The results of this study, which are published online in Nature, suggest that at least in melanoma, antioxidants promote disease progression by promoting metastasis.

"Our data suggest cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than do normal cells," said lead author Sean Morrison, PhD, director of the Childrens Research Institute and Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. "It raised the concern that people with cancer may want to think twice before they supplement their diet with large doses of antioxidants."

In their study, human melanoma cells taken from several patients were grafted into mice. In mice that were given the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine, cancer spread was accelerated. It significantly increased the frequency of melanoma cells in the blood of some of the mice and significantly increased metastatic disease burden in all of them.