CAM and Cancer

13th Tuesday, 2010  |   Herb or Compound  |  no comments

CAM and Cancer

Between 30 – 70% of cancer patients turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches for treatment and support (Goldstein et al 2008). Botanicals and herbal preparations are among the most common CAM approaches used by cancer patients both for cancer treatment and management of cancer symptoms. In a recent review of cancer patients in California, 86.5% were using more than two dietary supplements, which included herbal preparations (ibid). However, only a minority of patients uses dietary supplements and botanicals for cancer treatment, rather than to manage associated symptoms or related health conditions. This paper reviews the state of the clinical science of botanicals used in CAM for treatment of cancer and cancer symptoms, although the role of botanicals for cancer prevention is not a focus of this article. Considering the expansive nature of the field and the fact that a substantial part of the literature especially on botanicals used in Asian countries has not been published in English, this article focuses on clinical research data published in English suggesting clinical benefit of botanicals used in CAM cancer treatment and the discussion of continuing, promising clinical research projects of botanicals for cancer.

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Selenium and cancer

12th Monday, 2010  |   Herb or Compound  |  no comments

Selenium toxicity has long been known in animals, which is not surprising, given that it can act as a pro-oxidant at very high doses. Human selenium excess can take both acute and chronic forms. The chronic clinical syndrome is known as selenosis, with symptoms such as hair and nail loss, whilst acute toxicity can be potentially fatal (although evidence suggests the single dosage that might cause this is > 40,000 ?g). It has been said that serum selenium levels in acute toxicity are typically at least 1,000 ?g/L 15 and were > 5,000 ?g/L in one fatal case. continue reading

Do inflammatory cytokines predict cancer?

9th Friday, 2010  |   Breast Cancer, Others  |  no comments

Do inflammatory cytokines predict cancer? There are mixed reports on this and particularly on IL-6 levels but if we look at obesity and elevated IL-6, C-Reactive Protein and Serum Amyloid -A, I think we can find a positive prognosticator, despite the one report to the opposite.
Serum interleukin-6 levels in colorectal cancer patients–a summary of published results
It is now clear that inflammation and cancer initiation and progression are linked. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine with described cancer stimulatory and also cancer inhibitory properties. The study’s aim was to assess the potential of circulating IL-6 as a prognostic indicator in colorectal cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, restricted to articles published in English language. We compared published results in regard to differences in IL-6 levels between healthy controls and colon cancer patients (seven published results), between patients with increasing tumour stages (eight published results), between patients with differences in tumour size (four published results), and between patients with and without liver (three published results) or lung metastasis (one published result). Furthermore, we reviewed the literature in regard to the possible correlation of IL-6 levels with survival time (five published results) and correlation of IL-6 levels and lymph node involvement (three published results).

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Older men with high levels of the hormone IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor 1) are at increased risk of cancer death

Older men with high levels of the hormone IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor 1) are at increased risk of cancer death that is independent of age, lifestyle and cancer history. IGF-I is a protein hormone similar in structure to insulin and is regulated in the body by growth hormone (hGH). Levels of GH and IGF-I decline progressively with age in both men and women, and this drop is thought to be related to deteriorating health conditions found with advancing age but most importently, it is associated with visceral adiposity. In an attempt to combat ageing some people use GH as its actions elevate IGF-1.The current study, however, showed that older men who had higher IGF-I levels were more likely to die from a cancer-related cause in the ensuing 18 years than men with lower levels. Researchers used data on 633 men aged 50 and older from the Rancho Bernardo Study, a population-based study of healthy ageing. Study participants took part in a research clinic examination between the 1988 and 1991, when their blood was analysed and IGF-I was measured. Participants were followed through July 2006. Researchers found men who had IGF-I levels above 100 ng/ml had almost twice the risk of cancer death in the following 18 years as men with lower levels. In this study, the increased risk of cancer death for older men with high levels of IGF-I was not explained by differences in age, body size, lifestyle or cancer history, lead author Jacqueline Major, Ph.D., at the National Cancer Institute, was quoted as saying and if these results are confirmed in other populations, these findings suggest that serum IGF-I may have potential importance as a biomarker for prognostic testing. Major, J. M., Laughlin, G. A., Kritz-Silverstein, D., Deborah L. Wingard, D. L., & Barrett-Connor, E. Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I and Cancer Mortality in Older Men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), March 1, 2010. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-1378

Four studies on vitamin use and cancer seem to reach different conclusions.

8th Thursday, 2010  |   Breast Cancer, Herb or Compound, Prostate Cancer  |  no comments

Four studies on vitamin use and cancer seem to reach different conclusions. Are vitamins a benefit or a danger? I guess like all of these studies it depends; depends on the type of vitamin, the form of the components ie methylate form or not, and the combinations of vitamins therein. I think it is wise to use vitamins with clear intention, that is, what is attempted by their use, what is being treated and for how long will they be used. The last study concluded that multivitamin/mineral supplement use may prevent cancer in individuals with poor or suboptimal nutritional status, which does make sense BUT we need to measure that nutritional status to ensure we are treating the correct deficiency. The last study also points out the difference in gender and the impact of vitamins – interesting.

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