EDITORIAL

A new cancer ecosystem

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  17 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6330, pp. 1103
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan1295

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. eLetters are not edited, proofread, or indexed.  Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g. higgs-boson@gmail.com
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests
CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

  • Why is overconsumption of vitamin supplements associated with higher cancer risks?
    • Qiuyun Liu, Professor, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, Sun Yat-sen University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Xiao Yi, Researcher, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, 55108, USA
      • Lan Ouyang, Student, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

    Vitamins are essential to human health. However, overconsumption of vitamin supplements is associated with higher cancer risks (1-2). Some vitamins function as antioxidants. The B complex vitamins serve as enzyme cofactors. They are involved in the transfer of chemical groups, protons or electrons in biochemical reactions. The enhanced proton generation may accelerate the local buildup of HCl, which is mutagenic to DNA and a cause for carcinogenesis (3-6). Therefore, vitamin supplements need to be re-evaluated to avoid potential health hazards.

    Lan Ouyang, 1,3 Xiao Yi, 2,3 Qiuyun Liu 1,*
    1. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, Biomedical Center, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
    2. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, 55108, USA.
    3. Equal contribution.

    *Correspondence author.
    E-mail address: lsslqy@mail.sysu.edu.cn (Q. Liu)

    REFERENCES
    1. C. S. Yang, N. Suh, AN. Kong, Cancer Prev Res 5, 701 ( 2012 ).
    2. S. Jain, R. Munver, I. S. Sawczuk, Evid Based Med 17, 151 ( 2012 ).
    3. J. Zhang et al., Science, (2017); http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6331/1330/tab-e-letters
    4. M. Tang et al., Med....

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Why do physical exercises reduce cancer risks?
    • Qiuyun Liu, Professor, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, Sun Yat-sen University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Xiaoxiao Zhang, Researcher, IMCM, Kunming Medical University, Kunming 650500, China
      • Zhixue Wang, Student, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

    Physical exercises are reported capable of reducing cancer risks (1), including colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, liver cancer, gastric cardia cancer, kidney cancer, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, and cancers of the head and neck and bladder (2). Chinese farmers perform intensive labors and have lower cancer rates than city residents (3). The local buildup of HCl is believed to cause mutations and cancer (4-5). Physical exercises divert protons to the limbs for ATP productions, consequently reducing proton concentrations in internal organs and cancer risks. Excessive exercises are to be avoided as the buildup of organic acids is harmful to sensitive people (6-7), particularly obesity and allergy sufferers respectively. Organic acids such as oxalate may also be the cause of cancer deaths (8).

    Xiaoxiao Zhang, 2,3 Zhixue Wang, 1,3 Qiuyun Liu 1,*
    1. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
    2. Institute of Molecular and Clinical Medicine (IMCM), Kunming Medical University (Chenggong Campus), Kunming 650500, China
    3. Equal contribution.

    *Correspondence author.
    E-mail address: lsslqy@mail.sysu.edu.cn (Q. Liu)

    REFERENCES
    1. R. U. Newton , D. A. Galvão . Cur...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Why does heart rarely get cancer?
    • Qiuyun Liu, Professor, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, Sun Yat-sen University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Du Cheng, Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
      • Xia Chen, Doctor, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou510630, China.
      • Xiaoxia Li, Researcher, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

    It was recently proposed that cancer was triggered by the local buildup of strong acids (1-2), as calcium supplements reduced cancer risks (3). Workers have been previously reported to be virtually cancer free in China-based vinegar factories (4-6), and weak acids might counteract the local formation of HCl. Blood possesses about 0.9% NaCl and other cations. Some of these cations in the heart can neutralize acids and offset the effects of strong acids. Blood also is rich in nutrients, proteins and peptides, some of which can form secondary chemical bonding with cations, and remove anions like chloride. Rich media have been shown to render viral peptides toxic in low-protein media ineffective against bacteria at tested peptide concentrations (7). Low cancer risks in the heart may be attributed to the large reservoir of blood. Therefore, blood circulation is one factor worthy of consideration in future cancer prevention research.

    Du Cheng, 2,4 Xia Chen, 3,4 Xiaoxia Li, 2 Qiuyun Liu 1,*
    1. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Improved Variety Reproduction in Aquatic Economic Animals, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Biotechnology Research Center, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
    2. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
    3. Department of Cardiology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou510630, China.
    4. Equal cont...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Confusion at the cancer research frontiers. Does it reflect a paradigm shift?
    • Anders Bredberg, Senior consultant MD, Skåne University Hospital, Lund UniversityK

    What is the message of this Science issue's Special Section on Frontiers in Cancer Therapy?

    The editorial says: ‘basic scientific research ….to tame the disease’; so the message is to perform more molecular studies?

    The introduction says that the search is on for new molecules to target. But it also mentions non-precision approaches: simple changes to dose and timing of existing drugs, and that clinicians will experiment with combinations of drugs, ‘which history has shown can be more effective…’.
    Indeed, the major advance in cancer research during the last decades surely is the cure of childhood leukemia and testicular cancer patients; this was achieved by a tinkering with existing cytotoxic drugs, before the era of molecular targeting.

    The News article at first is confusing, when looking at the doctor-and-patient photograph over the heading ‘When less is more’; is the message that you actually can get more clinical information by hearing less of heart murmurs with the patient not un-dressed? Most probably not. Perhaps it is, as said in the end: ‘What the field needs most are more basic lab studies’.

    In conclusion, the message probably is to intensify the research focus on molecular targets.

    Is this the ideal message? Some readers may feel that the benefit of targeted cancer treatment has been relatively limited, and that the potential of molecular research to find the cure of cancer is often grossly overstated.

    Perhap...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.