Diabetic Medication with Antioxidants May Do More Harm than GoodApr 19, 2016
Antioxidants are commonly used in the belief that they may help prevent disease. However, new studies are finding they may promote tumor growth and metastasis. A study recently published in Science Translational Medicine remarks that the antioxidants in type 2 diabetes medication may fuel the spread of cancer.
“The administration of drugs with antioxidant activity in cancer patients, such as diabetic patients with cancer, should be carefully evaluated,” study author Shicang Yu told Medical Daily.
Antioxidants are molecules that work to neutralize the harmful molecules, or free radicals, that attack our cells and cause various types of disease. Antioxidants are naturally in fruits and vegetables, but can also be man-made and are often used in the treatment of diabetes. In spite of their protective properties, various studies have shown antioxidants to worsen cancer results, reports Medical Daily.
“Accumulating epidemiological evidence suggests that diabetes increases the risk of multiple cancers including colon, liver, and breast cancers,” wrote researchers. “Therefore, the increased prevalence of diabetes suggests that the incidence of individuals with both diabetes and cancer is also rising.”
The recent study explored the effects of antidiabetic medication with antioxidant properties on mice with colon and liver cancer. The drugs did not increase the risk of developing cancer, but increased the likelihood that existing cancers would metastasize. It appears that the antioxidants in the antidiabetic drugs “benefitted” the cancer cells by protecting them from oxidative stress, increasing their ability to migrate and invade, Medical Daily reports.
In previous studies, Dr. Sean Morrison of the University of Texas, Medical Center, made a statement following his research that his findings support the idea that antioxidants by reducing oxidative stress, benefit tumor cells more than they benefit normal healthy cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.