The spread of cancer to organs other than the one in which the disease originated is the source of most cancer mortality. In a review article published online on June 13, 2012 in the journal Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, Washington State University professor Gary G. Meadows reports that compounds found in various plants can help prevent metastasis and reduce the risk of death from one of the world's most prolific killers. "We're always looking for a magic bullet," stated Dr Meadows, who is the associate dean for graduate education and scholarship at WSU's College of Pharmacy. "Well, there are lots of magic bullets out there in what we eat and associated with our lifestyle. We just need to take advantage of those. And they can work together."
The review reveals that vitamin D, ginseng, lycopene, curcumin, pomegranate, fish oil and more influence gene expression in breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, skin and other cancers. The compounds work against cancer metastasis epigenetically, meaning that they switch on metastasis suppressor genes. "So these epigenetic mechanisms are influenced by what you eat," Dr Meadows explained. "That may also be related to how the metastasis suppressor genes are being regulated. That's a very new area of research that has largely not been very well explored in terms of diet and nutrition."
"There's likely to be more compounds out there, more constituents, that people haven't even evaluated yet," he added.
"We've kind of focused on the cancer for a long time," Dr Meadows remarked. "More recently we've started to focus on the cancer in its environment. And the environment, your whole body as an environment, is really important in whether or not that cancer will spread."
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