[box type=”default” size=”large”] Substance abets spread of cancer cells, patients told [/box]
MANILA — Cancer patients must not consume peanuts regularly because doing so would encourage the spread and growth of cancer cells in the body.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool (UL) who conducted a study on the impact of peanuts on cancer patients claimed that a component of peanuts provides the condition for survival and intensification of cancer.
The results of the pioneering study were published in the journal Carcinogenesis on December 19, 2014.
UL scientists showed that a protein in peanuts, called peanut agglutinin (PNA), binds to a special sugar chain that occurs mainly on pre-cancerous and cancer cells and interacts with a larger protein expressed on the surface of tumour cells in the bloodstream.
This interaction triggers changes in the larger protein, with the underlying adhesion molecules on the surface of the cancer cell being exposed.
This makes the cancer cells stickier, making it easier for them to attach themselves to the blood vessels.
Moreover, it permits the cancer cells to form small clumps that prolong the survival of cancer cells in the body’s circulation.
Epithelial cancers spread to the other organs through the bloodstream.
UL scientists had previously shown that PNA is resistant to cooking and digestion, with half of PNA discharged from the body among people who ingest raw or roasted peanuts.
PNA enters the bloodstream rapidly in an intact and active form after peanut consumption.
Prof. Lugang Yu, from the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine, who led the study, explains: “There is a large body of biological and epidemiological evidence linking diet and cancer causation, such as the association between heavy drinking and higher risks of oesophagus and colorectal cancer, but less is known of the influence of diet on the progression of cancer once it is established.”
He added: “This study provides proof of principle that PNA appearance in the blood circulation after peanut consumption enhances the ability of the tumour cells to spread to other areas of the body. Although more research is needed, as cancer cell spreading to other organs accounts for the majority of cancer-associated fatality, cancer patients would be advisable to avoid regular consumption of peanuts.”