Metastasis increases the higher your bad blood fat levels

Metastasis increases the higher your bad blood fat levels

Cancer cells have a receptor, CD-36 on their surface which allows them to pick up fats such as triglycerides, promoting their aggression and metastasis and decreasing survival in several cancers.

Triglycerides are stored fats that can cause heart disease and liver and pancreas problems. They can also promote aggression in cancer cells, promoting metastasis and lowered survival.

Spanish researchers have now found a new marker CD36, or CD-36, a metastasis-promoting protein receptor on the membranes of cancer cells, which picks up fatty acids and is linked to greater metastasis and a poorer prognosis and survival. 

Triglycerides, not simply LDL cholesterol

High Triglyceride levels were linked (1) to an increased risk of lung cancer, rectal cancer, prostate, gynaecological cancers, such as ovarian and womb cancers, and thyroid cancer as long ago as 2009.  Several research studies have observed that people with cancer and higher triglyceride levels in the blood, survive least.

Triglyceride levels should ideally be below 150 mg/dl. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need immediately into a store of triglycerides in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy, between meals.

They can be elevated by being overweight, lack of exercise, poor fat choices (saturated fat like coconut oil, trans fats) and alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol can spike Triglyceride levels (2).

Now researchers in Spain have discovered why triglycerides promote metastasis (3).  Certain types of cancer cells have more CD36, a cell surface receptor which encourages fat uptake, and it is these cells that spread in the body. This action, called metastasis, is what makes cancer a killer with 90 per cent of cancer deaths linked to metastases.

Researchers from Barcelona led by Salvador Aznar Benitah at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (Nature) are studying antibodies to block CD36.

Research on 464 Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) patients, followed for more than 8 years, showed that those with the lowest levels of triglycerides prior to treatment survived 19% longer than those with the highest levels (4). 

Research with 257 Oesophageal cancer patients showed that thosewho had the highest levels of triglycerides after treatment survived least (5).

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and Founder of CANCERactive commented, “A number of studies have shown that high levels of triglycerides and LDL in the blood are linked to lower survival times. We have covered research, for example, on the link between blood triglyceride levels and prostate cancer resurgence. Some oncologists in London use Lipitor (Atorvastatin) in small doses to reduce plasma levels of these fats. 

We have covered research that switching just 5% of saturated fat, for example coconut oil, into unsaturated fat, for example fish oil and EV olive oil, can increase survival significantly.

One research study covered in Cancer Watch showed that cancer cell surfaces were highly inflamed and bad fats could stick to the surface, in effect blocking the immune system’s ability to see the cancer cells. Some scientists believe this is one reason why a small daily aspirin (75mg) can be so helpful. Other studies have shown increased survival times when people take common antihistamines. 

One of the most interesting findings has been that a healthy microbiome contains commensal bacteria which produce certain short chain esters like propionate and these BLOCK the formation of excess LDL and triglycerides. Of course, after the oncologists’ drugs and antibiotics, you may not have these good bacteria present in your gut! A good probiotic can help a lot, but the best is to Heal Ur Gut with a definite plan to kill the bad guys and add back in the good guys. It’s a complex subject”.

The Spanish group's results are supported by work (5) in Louvain University, Belgium, where Professor Feron has shown that cancer cells stock up on lipids as their energy stores to enable them to move off round the body to distant organs. He believes the cancer cells must have their own 'back-pack' full of lipids prior to the journey.
* * * * * 
1. Serum triglyceride concentrations and cancer risk in a large cohort study in Austria; H Ulmer et al, Br J Cancer; 2009 Oct 6;101(7):1202-6
2. WebMD -
5. Post-treatment serum triglyceride: An effective biomarker for body fat mass and overall survival in esophageal squamous cell cancer patients treated with chemoradiotherapy - JiiaHua Liu et al; Frontiers 


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