Study: Radiation Therapy Can Make Cancers 30x More
Tuesday, June 26th 2012 at 10:00 am by Sayer
Following on the heels of recent revelations that x-ray
mammography may be contributing to an epidemic of
future radiation-induced breast cancers, in a new article titled, "Radiation
Treatment Generates Therapy Resistant Cancer Stem Cells From Aggressive Breast
Cancer Cells," published in the journal Cancer July
1st, 2012, researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at
the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report that radiation
treatment actually drives breast cancer cells into greater malignancy.
The researchers found that even when radiation kills half of the tumor cells
treated, the surviving cells which are resistant to treatment, known as induced
breast cancer stem cells (iBCSCs), were up to 30
times more likely to form tumors than the nonirradiated breast
cancer cells. In other words, the radiation treatment regresses the total
population of cancer cells, generating the false appearance that the treatment
is working, but actually increases the ratio of highly malignant to benign cells
within that tumor, eventually leading to the iatrogenic (treatment-induced)
death of the patient.
Last month, a related study published in the journal Stem
Cells titled, "Radiation-induced reprogramming of breast cells,"
found that ionizing radiation reprogrammed less malignant (more differentiated)
breast cancer cells into iBCSCs, helping to explain why conventional treatment
actually enriches the tumor population with higher levels oftreatment-resistant
A growing body of research now indicts conventional cancer treatment with
chemotherapy and radiation as a major contributing cause of cancer patient
mortality. The primary reason for this is the fact that cancer stem cells,
which are almost exclusively resistant to conventional treatment, are not being
targeted, but to the contrary, are encouraged to thrive when exposed to
chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In order to understand how conventional treatment drives the cancer into greater
malignancy, we must first understand what cancer is….
What Are Cancer Stem Cells, And Why Are They Resistant To
Tumors are actually highly organized assemblages of cells, which are
surprisingly well-coordinated for cells that are supposed to be the result of
strictly random mutation. They are capable of building their own blood supply
(angiogenesis), are able to defend themselves by silencing cancer-suppression
genes, secreting corrosive enzymes to move freely throughout the body, alter
their metabolism to live in low oxygen and acidic environments, and know how to
remove their own surface-receptor proteins to escape detection by white blood
cells. In a previous article titled "Is
Cancer An Ancient Survival Program Unmasked?" we
delved deeper into this emerging view of cancer as an evolutionary throw-back
and not a byproduct of strictly random mutation.
Because tumors are not simply the result of one or more mutated cells "going
rogue" and producing exact clones of itself (multi-mutational and clonal
hypotheses), but are a diverse group of cells having radically different
phenotypal characteristics, chemotherapy and radiation will affect each cell
Tumors are composed of a wide range of cells, many of which are entirely benign.
The most deadly cell type within a tumor or blood cancer, known as cancer
stem cells (CSCs), has the ability to give rise to all the cell
types found within that cancer.
They are capable of dividing by mitosis to form either two stem cells
(increasing the size of the stem population), or one daughter cell that goes on
to differentiate into a variety of cell types, and one daughter cell that
retains stem-cell properties.
This means CSCs are tumorigenic (tumor-forming) and should be the primary
target of cancer treatment because they are capable of both initiating and
sustaining cancer. They are also increasingly recognized to be the cause of
relapse and metastasis following conventional treatment.
CSCs are exceptionally
resistant to conventional treatment for the following reasons
CSCs account for less than 1 in 10,000 cells within a particular cancer, making
them difficult to destroy without destroying the vast majority of other cells
comprising the tumor.[ii]
CSCs are slow to replicate, making them less likely to be destroyed by
chemotherapy and radiation treatments that target cells which are more rapidly
Conventional chemotherapies target differentiated and differentiating cells,
which form the bulk of the tumor, but these are unable to generate new cells
like the CSCs which are undifferentiated.
The existence of CSCs explains why conventional cancer treatment has completely
missed the boat when it comes to targeting the root cause of tumors. One reason
for this is because existing cancer treatments have mostly been developed in
animal models where the goal is to shrink a tumor. Because mice are most often
used and their life spans do not exceed two years, tumor relapse is very
difficult, if not impossible to study.
The first round of chemotherapy never kills the entire tumor, but only a
percentage. This phenomenon is called the fractional kill. The goal is to use
repeated treatment cycles (usually six) to regress the tumor population down to
zero, without killing the patient.
What normally occurs is that the treatment selectively kills the less harmful
populations of cells (daughter cells), increasing the ratio of CSCs to benign
and/or less malignant cells. This is not unlike what happens when antibiotics
are used to treat certain infections. The drug may wipe out 99.9% of the target
bacteria, but .1% have or develop resistance to the agent, enabling the .1% to
come back even stronger with time.
The antibiotic, also, kills the other beneficial bacteria that help the body
fight infection naturally, in the same way that chemotherapy kills the patient’s
immune system (white blood cells and bone marrow), ultimately supporting the
underlying conditions making disease recurrence more likely.
The reality is that the
chemotherapy, even though it has reduced the tumor volume, by increasing the
ratio of CSCs to benign daughter cells, has actually made the cancer more
also been shown to increase cancer stem cells in the prostate, ultimately
resulting in cancer recurrence and worsened prognosis.[iii] Cancer
stem cells may also explain why castration therapy often fails in prostate
Non-Toxic Natural Substances Which Target and Kill CSCs
Natural compounds have been shown to exhibit three properties which make them
suitable alternatives to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy:
High margin of safety:
Relative to chemotherapy agents such as 5-fluorouracilnatural
compounds are two orders of magnitude safer
Selective Cytotoxicity: The ability to target only those
cells that are cancerous and not healthy cells
The ability to target the cancer stem cells within a tumor population.
The primary reason why these substances are not used in conventional treatment
is because they are not
patentable, nor profitable. Sadly, the criteria for
drug selection are not safety, effectiveness, accessibility and affordability.
If this were so, natural compounds would form an integral part of the standard
of care in modern cancer treatment.
Research indicates that the following compounds (along with common dietary
sources) have the ability to target CSCs:
Wine; Japanese Knotweed)
Additional research found on the GreenMedInfo.com Multidrug Resistance page
indicate over 50 compounds inhibit multidrug
resistance cancers in experimental models.
reprogramming of breast cancer cells. Stem Cells. 2012 May ;30(5):833-44. PMID: 22489015
acute myeloid leukemia is organized as a hierarchy that originates from a
primitive hematopoietic cell. Nat Med. 1997 Jul ;3(7):730-7. PMID: 9212098
recovery of irradiated prostate cancer increases cancer stem cells. Prostate.
2012 Apr 18. Epub 2012 Apr 18. PMID: 22513891
Cells with Luminal Progenitor Phenotype Survive Castration in Human Prostate
Cancer. Stem Cells. 2012 Mar 21. Epub 2012 Mar 21. PMID: 22438320
Sayer Ji is the founder
of GreenMedInfo.com. His writings and research have been published in the
Wellbeing Journal, the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, and have been featured on
numerous websites, including Mercola.com, NaturalNews.com, Reuters.com,
GaryNull.com, and Care2.com.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its