Research Roundup - Cancer Prevention

Prevent Inflammation and Prevent Cancer

(and maybe treat it, too)

More and more studies in humans suggest that long-term inflammation is a major cause of cancer in humans. Dog cancer has a lot of similarities to human cancer, at the level of the cell, and the way their cancers react to chemotherapy. In fact, there are researchers who recommend studying cancer in the dog to give more information about cancer in humans. So we think the reverse is true also: by studying research on human cancer, we can get some ideas about how we want to treat animals, especially dogs.

There are 2 research areas that are interesting: chemical reactions at the level of the cell, and reactions at the level of the body or the tumor. Both areas support the idea that long-term inflammation  promotes cancer, so preventing inflammation can prevent cancer. One of the most important chemicals involved with inflammation is called Niuclear Factor kappa B, or NFkappaB for short.

NFkappaB is found in high amounts in tumors, and causes inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to a change in cells from normal to cancer cells, multiplication of those cells, decreased apoptosis (cell death), invasion into normal tissue, angiogenesis (creation of a bigger blood supply for the tumor), and cancer metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body). Use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin is associated with decreased cancer risk in humans

Diets high in fruits and vegetables are also linked with lower incidence of cancer. In the wild, wolves, coyotes, and foxes have been seen to eat items such as fresh sprouts and wild berries. So those are a natural part of the diet of dog’s wild relatives. In many cases, this protection from cancer has been linked to specific ingredients found in those fruits and vegetables as well as in other foods like nuts and spices. There are so many that are beneficial that you can usually find at least a few that your dog or even your cat will eat.

You do not have to give every single fruit and vegetable in order to get the cancer prevention benefit. In fact, much of the research in this field looks at one single part of one single fruit or vegetable or spice. But a small combination may work better, since some foods work best in one area, whereas different ones work best in other areas.


A few food items specifically mentioned in research that will be discussed in the future:
green tea
red pepper

Want to read some of the research behind this?

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Aggarwal BB1, Kunnumakkara AB, Harikumar KB, Tharakan ST, Sung B, Anand P.
Potential of spice-derived phytochemicals for cancer prevention. Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(13):1560-9.

Petronelli A1, Pannitteri G, Testa U.Triterpenoids as new promising anticancer drugs. Anticancer Drugs. 2009 Nov;20(10):880-92.

Prasad S1, Phromnoi K, Yadav VR, Chaturvedi MM, Aggarwal BB. Targeting inflammatory pathways by flavonoids for prevention and treatment of cancer. Planta Med. 2010 Aug;76(11):1044-63.

Subash C. Gupta, Ji Hye Kim, Sahdeo Prasad, and Bharat B. Aggarwal, Regulation of survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of tumor cells through modulation of inflammatory pathways by nutraceuticals. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2010 Sep; 29(3): 405–434.