Inflammation increase the risk of cancer particularly breast cancer as an initiator or promoter (Hung RJ, et al. 2015).

A study of 49,258 Swedish women indicated that a pro-inflammatory diet increased the risk of developing breast cancer especially in postmenopausal women (Shivappa N, et al. 2015).

Why does inflammation stimulate cancer growth?

Acute inflammation is protective and involved in the healing of injuries as well as preventing infections.

Chronic low grade inflammation on the other hand can lead to a variety of diseases cancer being one (Aggarwal BB, et al. 2006).

Several pro-inflammatory cytokines have been identified being involved in the suppression of apoptosis (regulated cell death), invasion and metastasis.

There are several ways the diet can trigger inflammation.

One way it can do it which is very interesting and unknown to many, is by a substance called Neu5Gc which is not produced by humans anymore, but is found in dietary sources from animals especially in red meat and milk products (Hedlund M, et al. 2008).

Our bodies produce antibodies to Neu5Gc, human tumors accumulate Neu5Gc, and the resulting low grade inflammation stimulates tumor growth ( Hedlund M, et al. 2008).

It has been proposed that maybe tumors have antigens because they don’t develop in the absence of at least a minimal immune reaction (inflammatory reaction) (Phren RT, Phren LM, 2008).

Now you have even more reasons to incorporate a plant based diet.

I will review more research related to this topic.


Learn to Eat:  

Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program.


Aggarwal BB1, Shishodia S, Sandur SK, Pandey MK, Sethi G. Inflammation and cancer: how hot is the link? Biochem Pharmacol. 2006 Nov 30;72(11):1605-21. Epub 2006 Aug 4.
Hedlund M1, Padler-Karavani V, Varki NM, Varki A. Evidence for a human-specific mechanism for diet and antibody-mediated inflammation in carcinoma progression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Dec 2;105(48):18936-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803943105. Epub 2008 Nov 18.
Hung RJ1, Ulrich CM2, Goode EL2, Brhane Y2, Muir K2, Chan AT2, Marchand LL2, Schildkraut J2, Witte JS2, Eeles R2, Boffetta P2, Spitz MR2, Poirier JG2, Rider DN2, Fridley BL2, Chen Z2, Haiman C2, Schumacher F2, Easton DF2, Landi MT2, Brennan P2, Houlston R2, Christiani DC2, Field JK2, Bickeböller H2, Risch A2, Kote-Jarai Z2, Wiklund F2, Grönberg H2, Chanock S2, Berndt SI2, Kraft P2, Lindström S2, Al Olama AA2, Song H2, Phelan C2, Wentzensen N2, Peters U2, Slattery ML2; for GECCO, Sellers TA2; for FOCI, Casey G2, Gruber SB2; for CORECT, Hunter DJ2; for DRIVE, Amos CI2, Henderson B2; GAME-ON Network. Cross Cancer Genomic Investigation of Inflammation Pathway for Five Common Cancers: Lung, Ovary, Prostate, Breast, and Colorectal Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Aug 29;107(11). pii: djv246. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv246. Print 2015 Nov.
Prehn RT1, Prehn LM. The flip side of immune surveillance: immune dependency. Immunol Rev. 2008 Apr;222:341-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00609.x.
Shivappa N1,2, Sandin S3, Löf M4, Hébert JR1,2, Adami HO3,5, Weiderpass E3,6,7,8. Prospective study of dietary inflammatory index and risk of breast cancer in Swedish women. Br J Cancer. 2015 Sep 3. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.304. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Category: News
  • Author: Didrik Sopler
  • Published: 2020-03-28
  • Comments: 0
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