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Chemotherapy may spread cancer and trigger more aggressive tumours, warn scientists

Chemotherapy may spread cancer and trigger more aggressive tumours, warn scientists


Chemotherapy could allow cancer to spread, and trigger more aggressive tumours, a new study suggests.

Researchers in the US studied the impact of drugs on patients with breast cancer and found medication increases the chance of cancer cells migrating to other parts of the body, where they are almost always lethal.

Around 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Britain every year and 11,000 will die from their illness.

 Many are given chemotherapy before surgery, but the new research suggests that, although it shrinks tumours in the short term, it could trigger the spread of cancer cells around the body.

It is thought the toxic medication switches on a repair mechanism in the body which ultimately allows tumours to grow back stronger. It also increases the number of ‘doorways’ on blood vessels which allow cancer to spread throughout the body.

An image showing 'doorways' opening in blood vessels which allow tumours to spread 
An image showing ‘doorways’ opening in blood vessels which allow tumours to spread  Credit: George Karagiannis 

Dr George Karagiannis, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, found the number of doorways was increased in 20 patients receiving two common chemotherapy drugs.

He also discovered that in mice, breast cancer chemotherapy increased the number of cancer cells circulating the body and in the lungs.

Dr Karagiannis said women could be monitored during chemotherapy to check if cancer was starting to circulate and doorways were emerging.

“One approach would be to obtain a small amount of tumour tissue after a few doses of preoperative chemotherapy,” he said.

“If we observe that the markers scores are increased we would recommend discontinuing chemo and having surgery first, followed by post-operative chemo. We are currently planning more extensive trials to address the issue.

“In this study we only investigated chemotherapy-induced cancer cell dissemination in breast cancer. We are currently working on other types of cancer to see if similar effects are elicited.”

The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

JOHN KEY – Is he really concerned with helping New Zealanders or is he working for the NWO?

This is an interesting letter originally posted to the Hauraki Herald regarding John Key from Dr Robert Anderson of Tauranga.

Dear Editor,
I was particularly disturbed to see the recent flood of letters from
John Key suggesting ways to improve our health system. I note many were directed to women. Was this a veiled attempt for them to manipulate men into voting National?

I doubt if Key’s solutions would be acceptable to many informed New Zealanders after they have read Nicky Hagar’s brilliant expose, Hollow Men. Trained in the Friedman school, as was his predecessor, Don Brash, the National Party solution is to sell off assets[i] that are the property of our people. Selling these to greedy corporations does one of two things. It bleeds the industry dry without putting anything back, as it did with NZ Rail. Or it means “restructuring” to reduce jobs and funnel profits to off-shore foreign shareholders.

Helen Clark’s government is trying to do all it can to repair the
results of the Roger Douglas blitzkrieg, another Hayek convert to
the free-market model. At least, thanks to David Lange, our
hospitals were not sold off and some provincial hospitals are slowly recovering.[ii]

Although this ruthless philosophy has proven disastrous in many
countries that have adopted it, there are those still keen to see it fully implemented here.

I note there is little information on Key’s discussion document[iii]
concerning the source of money to bring about the improvements he advocates nor how he proposes to bring them about? Can we assume that, “The judicious use of public-private partnerships,” infers we enlarge the private hospital system at the expense of the public sector?

I disagree that, “Labour’s ideological aversion to private providers
is unnecessarily limiting patient options and harming their health.”
Health services should be available to all, irrespective of economic position. We certainly do not want a system such as the US in which only the rich can afford to be treated and an estimated 50 million go without.


Dr Robert Anderson
Union of Concerned Scientists

[i] Hagar N., “The Hollow Men”

[ii] Hauraki Herald 20th Nov 2007 “Hauraki Coromandel women can
expect shorter waiting times”


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