Palm Oil May Fuel Cancer Spread in the Body

Thursday, November 25, 2021

A team from Worldwide Cancer Research says palm oil alters the DNA of tumors, making them more aggressive. The researchers have started developing therapies that interrupt the process and senior author Professor Salvador Aznar-Benitah from the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology in a media release said a clinical trial could start in the next couple of years.  

Experiments on mice found palmitic acid, the main saturated fatty acid in palm oil, promotes metastasis in mouth cancers and deadly skin melanomas. Other fatty acids such as omega-9 and omega-6, found in olive oil and flaxseeds, did not show the same effect.  Despite the findings, the team finds none of these substances, including palmitic acid, increases the risk of developing cancer in the first place.    

“I think it is too early to determine which type of diet could be consumed by patients with metastatic cancer that would slow down the metastatic process,” Prof. Aznar-Benitah notes. “That said, based on our results one would think that a diet poor in palmitic acid could be effective in slowing down the metastatic process, but much more work is needed to determine this.”  The researchers, however, are not concentrating on this direction of research but are focusing on new potential therapeutic targets that could inhibit and that could have a real therapeutic benefit for the patient irrespective of their diet. 

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