* Lung Cancer - Latest News, Latest Research | CANCERactive

* Lung Cancer - Latest News, Latest Research | CANCERactive


Increase your personal odds of survival by empowering yourself with the latest research and news on lung cancer; 'news you can use' today and incorporate into your Integrative treatment programme to increase your personal odds of survival.

"It's really great to have this information in one place. I don't need to know about what drugs might be available in ten years time. I want to know what I can do today to help myself and take some control over my health, my cancer and my life" (Julie Jones, LA).

Go to: An Overview of Lung cancer - symptoms, causes, types and treatment alternatives


Just click on the title below to read the article.

2022 Research

2021 Research

2020 Research

2019 Research

2018 Research

2017 Research

2016 Research

2014/5 Research

Research prior to 2011:

2010 Research



2009 Research

2008 Research

2007 Research

2006 Research

2005 Research

2003 Research

Dietary study shows importance of vitamin E against lung cancer

A higher intake of natural vitamin E can cut the risk of lung cancer by 55 per cent. (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center - International Journal of Cancer)

The study was unique in that it looked at dietary levels of natural vitamin E, rather than the usual tests that involve supplements. Although natural vitamin E contains 4 forms of tocopherol, and 4 of tocotrienol, the research only followed the tocopherols. People with the highest tocopherol intake were found to have a 55 percent lower risk of lung cancer than people with the lowest intakes. The average intakes of the two groups were more than 12.95 milligrams per day and less than 6.68 milligrams per day, respectively.

A powerful protective correlation also showed up for just the alpha-tocopherol, form with those consuming the most having a 53 percent lower risk of lung cancer than those with the lowest intake. Vitamin pills in Europe contain mostly synthetic alpha-tocopherol, about which there have been some concerns.

More can be found on vitamin E, click here.

Cancer Prevention half can be avoided

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, if Governments just promoted healthy foods and exercise just over one third of cancers would be prevented (http://www.wcrf-uk.org).

The research presented showed that exercise and healthy food can prevent 36 per cent of lung cancers, 39 per cent of breast and pancreatic cancers, over 60 per cent of mouth cancers, 25 per cent of kidney cancers and 45 per cent of colorectal cancers. Of course, if you take icon regularly, you could prevent even more. We have told you how avoiding EMF’s, mammograms, dairy, chemical hormones, pesticides, certain chemicals in the home and toiletries and personal care products, taking melatonin, selenium, fish oils and vitamin D can all add to this prevention figure further. Oh and there’s a lot more easy to do things too. In every issue.

Now everyday chemicals are linked to lung cancer spread

It seems that hardly an issue of Cancer Watch passes without us reporting that some common chemical increases the risks opf a cancer. But mainstream cancer bodies and the UK ’powers that be’ in cancer just ignore it all, with rarely the slightest mention on their web sites. And never a warning!

Now it’s the turn of phosphates, commonly used to raise the water content of hams and other dried meats like bacon and chicken.

Expert research from South Korea’s Seoul University has concluded that inorganic phosphates play an important role in the growth of lung cancer tumours.

Of course, we all know that we get lung cancer because it is our fault and we smoke. However, as Canadian research covered in icon a year ago showed, more than a third of people with lung cancer have never been near a cigarette, or asbestos.

The research, published in the American Journal of Respiratory Research ended with the conclusion that ’Dietary regulation of inorganic phosphate may be critical for lung cancer treatment as well as prevention’. I’m sure that the UK Food Standards Agency will act on this immediately.

Radiation for lung cancer metastasis

Research from Amsterdam University Medical Centre (N Engl J Med. 2007, 357. 664) shows that 286 patients with advanced small-cell lung cancer benefit from prophylactic radiation to prevent metastasis to the brain. After 1 year only 14.6 per cent of the group who had Prophylactic cranial radiation had developed a brain tumour, whereas the non-irradiated group saw a 40.4 per cent level of brain tumours. Next step is to balance this with levels of brain damage caused.
15 per cent of all lung cancers are small-cell, most patients develop metastases, with 18 per cent developing in the brain.

Genes can increase Lung cancer risk

CANCER Research UK funded scientists have pinpointed an area of the genome containing one or more genes that can put smokers at even more risk of developing lung cancer. Their findings were published online in Nature Genetics.

The international team of researchers, led by Professor Richard Houlston at The Institute of Cancer Research, carried out a ’whole genome search’ for faulty genes that increase lung cancer risk. They studied the DNA the genetic material that makes us unique of thousands of men and women in the UK and the US. All of the people involved in the study were current or former smokers. Around half were lung cancer patients and the other half were healthy.

Initially they studied more than 300,000 ’tags’ parts of our DNA that act as a ’roadmap’ to our genes in the patients and healthy people. Eventually they narrowed the search down to two ’tags’, or genetic variants within the region of the genome called chromosome 15 which were more common among the lung cancer patients than the healthy people. These genetic variants have previously been implicated in lung cancer risk and roughly half the population carries either one or two copies of each.

Current or former smokers who carry one copy of each genetic variant increase their risk of lung cancer by 28 per cent. Current or former smokers with two copies of each variant increase their risk by 80 per cent. People who carry these variants, but have never smoked, are not at increased risk of the disease.

Professor Houlston said: We’ve found that these genetic variants are strongly associated with lung cancer. Both smokers and non-smokers have a fifty-fifty chance of carrying them but, significantly, they only increase the risk of lung cancer in people who have smoked. Houlston added: Although these results need to be confirmed in larger numbers of people, they suggest that the genes in this region of the genome interact directly with tobacco to cause lung cancer.
There are over 38,300 new cases of lung cancer in the UK each year.

Anti-smoking Drug linked to Suicides

The FDA in America has confirmed that ’there is an increasing likelihood’ of a connection between the drug Champix and serious psychiatric problems.

The anti-smoking ’wonder drug’, marketed since 2006 as the most effective way to give up smoking and made by Pfeizer, is taken by over 250,000 people in the UK, Concerns were already growing this side of the Atlantic, with reports that 11 people may have died due to the drug and adverse reactions occurring in almost 2000 people in just seven weeks. In the US reports of 37 deaths and over 400 cases of suicidal behaviour have been reported. 

Obviously the Drug company Pfeizer is denying any problems claiming that people giving up smoking often develop mood changes (!) But the FDA has said it has evidence that people taking the drug who also continue to smoke also have these problems.

In trials 16 per cent of people using nicotine replacement are still not smoking after a year. By comparison, the Pfeizer drug use sees 22.5 per cent success. The European Medicines agency has ordered in pack warning leaflets. Pfeizer is only saying that Doctors should  ’be aware of possible depressive symptoms in patients undergoing a smoking cessation attempt’. (Mail on Sunday - Feb 10 2008)

Statins may reduce lung cancer incidence

Many claims (and over claims) exist for statins.  They are commonly used as cholesterol lowering agents.  In Cancer Watch we have previously covered reports saying they could help with cancer, and another saying that they definitely couldn’t.

A US case controlled study involving 484,226 patients of average age 61.2 years (91.7 per cent male) showed that statins were associated with a reduction in lung cancer risk of 48 per cent.  Caution is urged in interpreting these figures.  The patients were selected across the October 1998 to June 2004 period and had taken ’some’ statins the period not being defined.

Of course it could be that people with high cholesterol just have less lung cancer risk.  More work is needed.

Lung Tumour Vaccine in Phase III Trial

A new drug called Stimuvax, which can be used with the most common form of lung cancer, is now entering a Phase III trial.  Stimuvax was developed by a small Canadian Biotech company (Biomara) and is a therapeutic vaccine.  This group of drugs is relatively new in cancer therapy and aims to induce the body’s own immune system to identify and kill existing cancer cells by attacking an important molecule like a peptide or protein crucial to the cancer’s survival.  Stimuvax stimulates the immune system to attack a molecule called MUC1, which is abundant in lung cancer cells.  The drug was originally a product of CRUK’s basic research programme.

Breathing household fuels and frying oils increases lung cancer.

Nineteen worldwide scientists met in Lyon in October 2006 (IARA) and concluded that there was more than enough research evidence from around the world to say that both coal and wood in-home fires, and stir-frying foods increased your risks of lung cancer.  Apparently heating oils to high temperatures and wok-frying, pan-frying or deep-frying increases lung cancer risk from fumes.  Carcinogenicity was confirmed using rapeseed oils and rats.  (Ed: Damn clever these rats - first they smoke cigarettes, then they fry their dinner! They’ll be taking indole 3 carbinol and lycopene next).

Lung cancer drug improves life expectancy

A new drug (AS1404), originally developed by a company in New Zealand, has been taken into phase II Clinical Trials by Cancer Research UK and results have already proved promising.  In a small-scale study, patients with non-small cell lung cancer showed improved life expectancy.  Those patients treated with AS1404 on top of standard chemotherapy showed an increase in life expectancy from 8.8 months to 14 months on average.  CRUK now plans a larger phase III trial. AS1404 is a world leader among a new class of drugs called Vascular Disrupting Agents (VDAs).  These work by selectively destroying established tumour blood vessels.  AS1404 reportedly can distinguish between a normal healthy blood supply and that of a tumour.  The drug has also received positive results in phase II trials for ovarian and prostate cancers.

Increases in Canadian lung cancer despite lowered smoking.

A new report, based around observations by leading experts at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, shows rises in lung cancer in non-smokers who have never smoked and do not even frequent smoky places.  Initially, Doctors were puzzled the figures seems to be around 65 out of 437 Canadians diagnosed on average every week.

Many of these people are young and female, said Dr. Natasha Leighl. In California they believe the number of people with lung cancer who have never smoked may now be as high as 30 per cent.

Specific reasons are thought to include radon or even asbestos exposure.  But it looks increasingly likely that a combination of hormone changes (natural and chemical) plus a host of airborne chemical pollutants may be the real reason for the increases.

(Ed: The study also confirmed, as we have told you before, that women are more susceptible to these other influences than men.  Lung cancer is a bigger cause of death in women in Canada than breast cancer)

Erlotinib improves quality of life for lung cancer patients.

Patients especially those with non-small-cell lung cancer report improvements in overall symptoms like shortness of breath, pain and coughing when using Erlotinib for advanced lung cancer (J. Clin Oncol 2006 24: 3831-5).

The drug inhibits tyrosine-kinese epidermal-growth-factor-receptors and improves one year survival rates.  Quality of life data was extracted from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) research questionnaire.

The drug is now routine in advanced cases of NSCLC says Dr. David Ettinger of John Hopkins, Baltimore.

Protein Blocks Drugs In Lung Cancer

Tumours with a protein called FGF-2 are less likely to respond to drug treatment in lung cancer. Now FGF-2 has been found to be involved in the resistance to chemotherapy drugs over time.

"The main reason people die of lung cancer is drug resistance" says Professor Seckl of Cancer Research UK. Looking at FGF-2 has led to another molecule S6K2, about which little was known. No researchers have found that cells with higher levels have more drug resistance.

Ultrasound Now ’Safe’ For Lung Cancers

Radiofrequency ablation (the technical term for ultrasound action on cancer cells at high temperature - covered in recent copies of icon) could be a "safe and feasible" alternative for those patients with non-small cell lung cancer. So says S. Batra of UCLA, San Francisco (Lancet Oncology).

Lung Cancer Must Be Diagnosed Earlier

Recent research states that lung cancer sufferers have significantly greater survival rates when the disease is diagnosed early. For 80 per cent of patients surgery is not an option because the cancer has been diagnosed so late. So below are some early indications of lung cancer.

The main symptoms of lung cancer are:

  1. Chest infections that won’t go away, even with antibiotics.
  2. A cough for more than 3 weeks.
  3. Coughing up blood.
  4. Feeling more tired than usual.
  5. Feeling very out of breath.
  6. Losing your voice, but no sore throat.
  7. Chest pains.
  8. losing weight but not sure why.

Supportive Care ’As Good As Gefitinib’ For Lung Cancer

Phase III trial reports that patients who had one or two doses of chemotherapy, and then went on to have gefitinib, may as well just have had the best supportive care for NSCLC. Little difference in survival was noted (Lancet Oncology).

Sense And Sensibility

Thank goodness the MP’s in the House of Commons have shown some good judgement and corrected the non-sense Tony Blair and Patricia Hewitt had concocted as an anti-smoking law for public places. From mid-2007, smoking will now be banned in England in all confined public spaces. Scotland and Ireland already have their laws.

New Smoking Laws "A Shambles"

icon’s view on the new smoking laws is that they are a shambles and almost certainly unworkable. All the evidence pointed to a smoking ban in all public places. Unfortunately the Government forgot that it was their responsibility to govern, and instead made ludicrous and appeasing political half-decisions.

Vitamin D Helps Lung Cancer Survival 

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health have concluded that good levels of vitamin D in the body may help people with early stage lung cancer survive longer after surgery.

Patients who had surgery in the sunny summer months where vitamin D levels are higher were more than twice as likely to be alive 5 years after surgery compared with those with low vitamin D levels having winter time surgery. Apart from fish oils, sunshine is the only other significant ’provider’ of vitamin D.

Dr David Christiani said the survival differences were ’dramatic’; the highest levels of vitamin D saw 72 per cent 5- year survivals compared with just 29 per cent for people with the lowest levels.

’It looks like vitamin D is antiproliferative, as it inhibits proliferation of abnormal cells’, added Christiani, ’and there was also evidence to suggest vitamin D inhibits the spread of tumours’.

(Ed: Fish oil consumption in the UK has declined from 75,000 tonnes to just 20,000 tonnes across the last 40 years. In winter people in the UK simply do not get sufficient sunlight to generate vitamin D (see icon report - February 2004). We strongly advise all people concerned about cancer to take fish oils (but not cod liver oil unless vitamin D enriched), during the winter months.) Meanwhile here are three more recent studies that say that sunshine is good for you.)

1:In the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Jan 20, 2005) men with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood were half as likely to develop prostate cancer, as those with poor amounts. Research has shown that vitamin D inhibits prostate cancer cell growth. The provider of the vitamin in the research? Sunshine!

2:The University of New Mexico (Journal of Nat Cancer Institute 2005, 97) has shown that its research findings conclude people with high exposure to the sun are less likely to die from melanomas. They too conclude vitamin D might be the protecting factor.

3:Finally the Swedes have their study too. Sunshine reduces risk of Hodgkin’s by 40 per cent (Karolinska Institute).

(Ed: As readers know we think this don’t smoke, avoid strong sunshine’ approach to cancer prevention from some quarters is both nave and misleading. We have previously run articles on supposed ’protective suncreams’ and how their ingredients, or the contraceptive pill, can greatly pre-disposed people to skin cancer.)

Lung Cancer Cells Are Oestrogen Responsive 

According to research in Cancer Res (2005) lung cancer cells grow in response to oestrogen and researchers used gefitnib to block the pathway; with fulvestrant to block the growth factors. This resulted in 59 per cent of the sample having their tumours decrease.

Tarceva Lung Cancer Trial

Tarceva is a drug that targets a molecule with a key role in the growth and extended life span of cancer cells. Researchers at more than 70 centres across the UK will test the drug.

Chief Investigator at UCL Hospital, Dr Siow Ming Lee said, "Conventional chemotherapy is of limited use against advanced lung cancer. Tumour cells quickly become resistant to treatment, while chemotherapy doesn’t properly distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy ones and has too many side effects for many very ill patients to cope with."

Tarceva targets a molecule called Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), which normally instructs cancer cells to grow and divide, and is particularly concentrated in some lung cancers. Over 660 patients are required for the trials.

Protective Gene Against Lung Cancer

Very little is known about the molecular basis of lung cancer. However Cancer Research scientists have now found that a gene (the LIMDI gene) was reduced in all of the lung cancer samples analysed.

LIMDI is located on a part of Chromosome 3 called 3p21, long suspected to be a home to important tumour suppressor genes. It is missing in many types of cancer.

Non-smokers and lung cancer drug

Phase II studies with 52 patients using the drug Erlotonib showed a response to treatment of 46 per cent amongst "never-smokers" with a level of 21 per cent amongst current or former-smokers.

New Lung Cancer Treatment

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre have reported a new study suggesting that a drug called Erlotinib (TarcevaTM) has promising activity in patients with bronchioloalveolar cell carcinoma (BAC), a type of non-small cell lung cancer generally considered to be resistant to chemotherapy. Preliminary results were announced at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Investigators from Vanderbilt University Medical Center also contributed to the research, which was funded by Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA.

"While it is premature to make any conclusions about survival, we found that this treatment induced regressions that were often dramatic in patients with advanced BAC, and that the responses seem more durable and meaningful than what we have seen with chemotherapy," said the study’s lead investigator Vincent Miller, MD, medical oncologist at MSKCC. "The treatment was especially effective in those patients who had never smoked," he added. "This is not a panacea, but to see a therapy actually cause tumour regression in a meaningful percentage of patients with this disease is really unexpected and a pleasant surprise. The hope is to ultimately manage BAC like a chronic disease."

Erlotinib is a small molecule that works by blocking the activity of an enzyme called "epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase," which helps communicate information within the cancer cell. EGFR is found on the surface of many tumour cells and may be involved in the growth and virulence of those cells.

BAC has certain pathologic and clinical features that distinguish it from other lung cancers. Approximately 3 percent of all lung cancer patients have what are called pure BAC tumours, but overall about 20 percent of an estimated 135,000 non-small cell lung cancers diagnosed each year possess some BAC features. BAC tends not to metastase, but rather to spread within the lung causing symptoms such as shortness of breath and sputum production. Chemotherapy usually does not work as well for people with this type of lung cancer as it may in other types. BAC is increasing in incidence and it is more common in women and in individuals who never smoked. Patients in this study experienced modest side effects including rash and diarrhoea, most of which seem to attenuate over time.

Lung Cancer May Run in Families

The Lancet oncology reports on an ongoing study from the University of Texas (Anderson Centre) which reviewed 12,000 case histories. They are finding that among smokers there is a 40 to 87 per cent increased risk running in families where one member has lung cancer, thus indicating some sort of genetic predisposition.

Insulin resistence/intolerance found to increase cancer risk

A while ago, at CANCERactive we told you all about Insulin Resistance. ’Do you have trouble losing weight?’ This is a common sign, as are low levels of HDL, high triglycerides, high blood glucose levels and more. And while you are not a true diabetic, the principles seem the same for an estimate of up to 70 per cent of the population, who (frankly) just eat badly. We have also given you a number of research studies showing glucose drives cancer.

Not surprisingly, insulin resistance is a step along the road to diabetes and heart disease. Now it has been shown to be a step along the road to cancer too.

New research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, concluded that ’there is a strong link between insulin resistance and the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.’ Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York have concluded that the elevated insulin levels linked to insulin resistance result in post-menopausal women having a higher risk of breast cancer.

The researchers also found that elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels raised the risk of breast cancer by 1.7 times. Increased diastolic blood pressure (the second number when you have your blood pressure measured ) raised the risk of breast cancer 2.4 times.

Two factors are important here:

  1. Although this research was conducted looking at breast cancer, you can bet this is true for many cancers, male and female.
  2. Yet again it highlights the point we consistently make about the daft sugar-laden diets given to cancer patients in UK Hospitals.


We have complained that the NHS booklet on ’a diet for chemotherapy’ shows little drawings of cheese burgers, milk shakes and sticky doughnuts on every page. My daughter was given ice cream and Ribena endlessly in her oncology unit.

Of course the good news for everyone preventers and people with cancer - is that insulin resistance and blood sugar levels are controllable and reverse-able. Just change your diet!!!

I will list here for everyone’s benefit some of the tips from my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’:

  • Eat six small meals a day, not one or two big ones
  • Eat whole foods and whole grains (never refined, processed or fast foods)
  • Avoid alcohol, fizzy soft drinks, sweets, cakes, white bread, white pasta, biscuits, chocolate. Diet drinks are especially bad! As are smoothies and purchased fruit juices; even many so-called health drinks.
  • Eat raw most days, on an empty stomach if possible
  • Eat your fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
  • Eat steamed or grilled never fried
  • Avoid Dairy (lactose is a sugar)
  • Take probiotics in several strains
  • Ensure you have no yeast excesses in your body (take cinnamon, oregano, Pau D’Arco and wormwood).
  • And eat fresh raw garlic.

Remember, research from North Western shows that if you lose excess weight you reduce risk and even improve survival times.

The book contains far more detailed advice.

Being overweight increases cancer risk fact

Cancer Research UK have just researched 4,000 people and come up with the staggering fact that 97 per cent of people have no idea that being overweight is a significant cancer risk. Of course, had they read our report on the research we conducted 4 years ago they would have known that people haven’t much a clue what does cause cancer anyway. Indeed we went into all the key issues in our 2004 Cancer Prevention Conference, which was poorly attended by the ’major’ charities.

As we have been telling people for seven years, it all depends which report you read, and how much overweight you are, but to be just 7 kgs overweight knocks over 5 years off your life expectancy, and a whopping 13 years if you smoke as well. .All this is well documented in my book, ’Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer’  indeed it has been there since the first edition some 7 years ago.

All this comes in parallel with new Swedish research showing overweight women tend to be diagnosed with higher grade cancers than ladies who have restrained their weight.

One of the real issues is that many overweight people are in denial. We have had ladies write to us with breast cancer and they are 13 kgs over normal weight for their height. One described herself as ’cuddly’, another as ’being a bit chunky’.

In our original 2004 prevention research, people stated that giving up smoking was important, as was avoiding excess alcohol, and staying out of the sun. As we pointed out at the time, ’Burning is bad, sunshine is sensible’. 4 years ago there was too much bad science coming from cancer charities suggesting sunshine was carcinogenic. In fact there is actually a great deal of research that suggests that a daily dose of sun shine promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and reduces cancer risk. A few people also knew that exercise was a risk reducer. But, in all, few people knew any information about preventing cancer (unlike Heart disease or AIDS) and blame for this lack of information can only be laid at the doors of the Government and the cancer charities. It was in response to this research finding that CANCERactive decided to adopt the Precautionary Principle (that where there is expert research expressing concern, we will pass on that research information so that the people of Britain can make more informed choices). As a result just compare the volume of Prevention Topics we cover against those listed on the major charities web sites. Pesticides? EMF’s? Melatonin? Toxic Chemicals, from dioxins to oestrogen mimics in plastic bottles and preservatives?

Anyone who is unsure of the factors that may increase cancer risk should go to the prevention part of our web site where they will find more information on more possible causes than on any other UK charity web site. As you will see, we have given some weight to the issue of cancer prevention!

Men more likely to get cancer the issue is why?

Men are almost 40 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer, reveals a report published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).

And they are 16 per cent more likely to develop the disease in the first place.

After excluding breast cancer and cancers specific to one or other sex from the analysis, the difference is even greater with men being almost 70 per cent more likely to die from cancer and over 60 per cent more likely to develop the disease.

The researchers then looked at the figures, excluding lung cancer as well, because the disease and its main risk factor, smoking, is known to be more common in men.They expected to see that, across the broad range of remaining cancer types, men and women were just as likely as each other to die from and get the disease. But they found that for all of these cancers combined, men were still 70 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer and 60 per cent more likely to get cancer.

Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour like down-playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle.

Even rogue cancer DNA repairs itself

CRUK scientists (Nature) have discovered a sensor which exists even in cancer cells. Some drugs try to damage cancer DNA. This sensor system is actually a family of proteins (alkyltransferase-like proteins or ATL’s) warns the cell and activates the DNA repair systems and so the drugs lose their effect.

Organic foods are better ignore the UK Food Standards Agency

All over the UK papers comes news of the ’ruling’ from the FSA that ’organic food is no more nutritious than other foods’. According to that well known medical journal, the Daily Mail, ’watchdogs’ have declared this to be true.

Claiming to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’ trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the value of foods since 1958.’ The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Alan Dangour (a public health nutritionist, no less) who was the lead researcher stated that, ’Currently there is no research to support the selection of organically produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority’.

Spokesperson Gill Fine from the FSA burbled on about, ’Ensuring people had accurate information’ and ’no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic foods’.

What staggers us at CANCERactive is that in order to resolve this very same question the EU has just spent 12 million of tax payers’ money conducting as near as can be, the definitive Clinical Trial, growing fields of organic food in parallel with normal pesticide and fertiliser-grown crops and then employing top scientists to give us the results. The FSA, which is after all a Government funded unit, ought to know this and use the data. And be clear, Gill: The ’accurate information’ is that there is a considerable difference. And this is just from early assessments. The project will continue for a few more years yet, as that is how long it takes to be sure. Professor Carlo Leifert, one of the CANCERactive patrons, is a lead member of the team.We covered the early conclusions in this very magazine.

The Daily Mail falls into the usual ’bad science’ trap too, meandering on about 50 years of research and 50,000 studies. But, the researchers didn’t use 50,000 studies, they used, sorry selected, 55 that ’met their criteria’, whatever they were. So one concludes therefore they left out a mere 49,945 studies from their conclusions. Perhaps one was the definitive EU study?

Then there is Dr Alan ’no evidence to support nutritional superiority’ Dangour. I quote about 10 - 15 such studies in my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’. Leifert and his team have a hundred more! What planet do these people live on? Al, old chap, there is rather a lot of scientific evidence actually; I cannot believe you think there is none..

But for the last word we will return to Gill ’no additional health benefit’ Fine. All I can conclude is that she finds pesticides tasty and of absolutely harmless. Of course that view would put her directly at odds with the EU, which recently concluded that there were ’deep concerns’ and cited health hazards including cancer as a need for more regulation. It is puzzling that Gill ’ensuring people have accurate information’ Fine does not seem to be telling you all about  research studies showing that farmers using pesticides develop more multiple myeloma, and another that this is due to the pesticide making pre-cancerous MGUS proteins in the blood, or (for example) that some third world suppliers to British retailers still use the banned pesticides of DDT and Lindane, each linked to higher rates of Breast Cancer. (If she is unsure, she could always trawl through back issues of Cancer Watch for more ’accurate information’.)

For the record, there is concern that organic foods grown on depleted soils offer little in additional mineral content over mass-farmed foods. How could they? On basic vitamins there is quite a lot of evidence that organic food is superior, but sometimes not by much. The real advantage seems to come in the area of complex natural compounds (like resveratrol, quercitin, omega 3 or polyphenols) where organic foods score much more highly. For example, the use of fungicide negates the need for grapes to produce fungus fighting resveratrol of their own several studies have measured this. And even 10 years ago researchers didn’t know too much about these compounds or their health benefits, and so did not research for them. How many such studies were in the ’selected’ group?

Personally I don’t think everybody should rush off and buy everything organic we have told you which foods research studies show are more likely to hold their pesticides, and which do not. So in a number of cases there is not a lot to worry about. But red fruits like strawberries and greens like broccoli do need extra caution before using the sprayed versions.

It is all very sad really. I think that the people, and especially the patients who want to beat cancer deserve better than this. But then, that’s why we set up CANCERactive.

Need to prevent thousands of older people dying from cancer, prematurely

As many as 15,000 people over 75 could be dying prematurely from cancer each year in the UK, according to research presented today at the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) conference.

These premature deaths could be prevented if cancer mortality rates in the UK dropped to match countries in Europe and America which have the lowest rates.

The researchers from the North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) in Manchester compared cancer death rates in the UK with Europe and America.

They found that over the past decade the numbers of people dying from cancer in the under 75s has significantly dropped in the UK. But, little progress has been made in the over 75s and the gap in death rates with other countries is getting wider.

Dr Tony Moran, lead researcher from NWCIS, said It’s worrying that so many older people die from cancer in the UK compared with other countries. But, it’s not clear why this is. Research is urgently needed to understand the reasons for the extra deaths so that steps can be taken to prevent them.

New scientific study reveals flaws, even fraud, in Clinical Trials

Scientific study. Clinical Trial, Gold Standard. Non Sequetor. Well, at least according to Dr Daniele Fanelli at the University of Edinburgh. In a recent study Fanelli lists findings such as

Most clinical results are misleading

  • 5 per cent of scientists have admitted falsifying results
  • One third of scientists admitted observing such bad practice in others

Fanelli’s report states that the misconduct is more prevalent in clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical research. So much for the ’gold standard’; but then he goes on to refer to the high profits at stake where a few word changes can make all the difference, even if it’s not fraud but ’presentation’.

He also comments on studies that criticise vitamins suggesting that all too often, doses used are too low to have an effect, or the where vitamin tested is known not to have an effect on a particular disease whereas another, untested one, is.

All this coincides with a USA FDA report that reports deficiencies and flaws in up to 20 per cent of US drug clinical trials.

Lung cancer risk three genes implicated

Professor Richard Houlston, a scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, and his team have confirmed that inherited changes in certain regions of the genome can increase a smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer, and determine the type of lung cancer that develops (Journal Cancer Research August 2006). They have identified changes in three regions of the genome which were more common in lung cancer patients than healthy individuals. These regions sat on chromosomes 5, 6, and 15. The researchers found that the variation at chromosome 5 influenced the type of lung cancer that developed. Those that carried this variant are more likely to develop a subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) called adenocarcinoma, which accounts for 27 per cent of lung cancers in the UK and is the most common type of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Cancer Watch has covered a number of studies, most notably one from Canadian Scientists, which have reported that one third of people contracting lung cancer have never been near cigarettes or their smoke. Increases in young women have implicated chemicals such as formaldehyde, and xenoestrogens (common chemicals that mimic oestrogen in the body). In the USA, factors such as radon gas bubbling up through some houses and even diesel fumes have been established as causes.

Two drugs better than one for lung cancer

According to researchers from M. D. Anderson, who presented the findings of an international Phase III trial at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting in May, when combined with the standard chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel), the oral targeted therapy Zactima (vandetanib) improves progression-free survival for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Vandetanib, is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and is the first agent to target two lung cancer receptors, Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)

Now HRT increases risks of dying from lung cancer!

According to an 8-year study by researchers at the University of Nebraska, women with lung cancer who take HRT are more likely to die from the disease. The study, published in the Lancet in September 2009, showed that amongst the 16,000 women studied the disease was 71 per cent more likely to be fatal in women taking HRT supplement than those taking a placebo.

The risk of dying from lung cancer was highest for women taking HRT between the ages of 60-79. In 2008 we reported research that stated at least one type of lung cancer was driven by oestrogen, the female sex hormone.
Experts suggested that, since oestroegen was a known driver of many cancers and HRT contained synthetic oestrogen, the results were highly plausible.

Early morning smokers are at higher risk of lung cancer

In a relatively small (252 people) study, it has been shown that people who light up first thing in the morning dramatically raise their nicotine levels, and this has nothing to do with how heavy a smoker the person is.

Scintists at Penn State College of Medicine (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention) measured the blood levels of cotinine, a by-product of nicotine, amongst 20-per-day smokers. These people had widely differing conitine levels, but they were highest in people who smoked before breakfast, possibly indicating that these people had a worse nicotine craving. Increased blood levels of conitine are linked with a higher risk of lung cancer. Obviously the research has implications for helping people quit.

Early trials on pill indicate effect on small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer is especially virulent and scientists at Imperial College, London have worked for many years trying to find something that could stop its progression. They may now have done just that.

They have developed a new drug, which in tests with mice (Cancer Research, November) shrank the tumours to nothing. Researchers claim the new drug also helped other forms of chemotherapy become more effective. Lead researcher, Professor Seckl, said that the next step is to go to clinical trials in Humans. One in five cases of lung cancer is ’small cell’.

Formaldehyde linked to cancer risk, again

In Cancer Watch we have covered the dangers of formaldehyde before specifically links to lung cancer and leukaemia.

This known carcinogen is banned in countries such as Sweden and Japan. But you can find it readily available in products in your local supermarket from shampoos to nail polishes. In your home it can be found in fungicides and disinfectants, in the glues used to affix carpet and ceiling tiles, or produced by wood chip board products. Its presence is so common that researchers following students with respirators for two weeks in New York and Los Angels showed that it was the number 1 pollutant in our daily lives, well ahead of benzene and outdoor contaminants.

Now a somewhat bazaar study on Morticians, who use formaldehyde for embalming, has shown that those who regularly use it have a much greater risk of myeloid leukaemia, than those who don’t. (Journal of National Cancer Institute)

Sulphur amino acid and B vitamins shown to be linked to lower lung cancer levels

French researchers working for IARC in Lyon have shown that a suphur-containing amino acid called methionine and B vitamins B6 and folic acid are linked to lower levels of lung cancer, even amongst smokers. In fact the reduction in cases where all three were highest in peoples’ blood was a massive two-thirds.
Methionine like cysteine, is an essential amino acid (you have to eat it, and you cannot make it) and scientists are increasingly noting the importance of sulphur in the anti-cancer process; for example with natural compounds like sulphoraphane from sprouting broccoli seeds.

It is know that methionine is a precursor to a number of essential compounds in the body, like phospholipids, carnitine, lecithin and cysteine, and a lack can lead to artherosclerosis. In particular the amino acid is active in the translation of messages from the genome to form the correct proteins.

B vitamins like folic acid, biotin and niacin have increasingly been shown to be important in the fight against cancer. B6 or pyridoxin, is a cofactor in the actions of a number of amino acids, and helps release glucose from stores of glycogen. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is an essential precursor to compounds involved in cell energy production, and in DNA repair. Only recently research in Cancer Watch identified a niacin-like compound as causing cancer cell death in people with cancer. Biotin (vitamin B7) is essential for cell growth and correct blood glucose control, and folic acid (vitamin B9), or the naturally occurring form folate, is essential to the correct reproduction and copying of the cell’s DNA. All have been found to be released from whole foods by the action of beneficial bacteria in the gut. A prime source is whole grains.

The French study followed almost 400,000 people and those who had the highest blood levels of methionine and vitamin B6 developed lower rates of lung cancer. Folate levels also had an effect, but this was lower. However, when all three were present in good concentrations the protective factor was highest. The findings were true even amongst both current and former smokers.

The study is part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) involving people from 10 European countries.

The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and concluded: ’Our results suggest that above-median serum measures of both B6 and methionine, assessed on average five years prior to disease onset, are associated with a reduction of at least 50 percent on the risk of developing lung cancer. An additional association for serum levels of folate was present, that when combined with B6 and methionine, was associated with a two-thirds lower risk of lung cancer’.

Chris’ Comments: Because of the general involvement in the body of both methionine and B vitamins it is likely that, in time, these impressive findings will not just be limited to lung cancer. We have long advocated the importance of having a healthy intestinal flora (by avoiding drugs like antibiotics and taking daily probiotics) and eating a diet of whole foods including whole grains. To purchase vitamin B Complex click here.

Other Articles of interest (click on the title)
The Rainbow Diet
Folic Acid
Beneficial Bacteria


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