I missed this study when it first came out, but am glad to share it this week since it's an important chapter in the medical detective novel about herbicides that we are living in the middle of.
French cancer researchers have found that glyphosate causes cancer when it's combined with other risk factors. (Cancers usually develop as a result of multiple factors.)
In studies with rats, the researchers found that when glyphosate was combined with molecules linked to oxidative stress, more cancers resulted. Oxidative stress is the result of aging, smoking, alcohol, diet or other factors. Oxidative stress changes the structure of the genome of the breast, which can accelerate the growth of cancer.
"Especially, herbicides have been increasingly recognized as epigenetic modifiers," the studies' authors wrote in their introduction to the paper published in Frontiers in Genetics.
Glyphosate not only promoted cancer development, it also supercharged cancer both in the disease's severity and target.
• 50% of the rats in the study got cancer
• Cancer growth was more aggressive
• The type of cancer it accelerated is one that attacks younger women
“What was particularly alarming about the tumor growth was that it wasn’t the usual type of breast cancer we see in older women,” Sophie Lelièvre said. “It was the more aggressive form found in younger women, also known as luminal B cancer.”
Lelièvre is a professor of cancer pharmacology at Purdue, which also participated in the study, and serves as the co-leader of Purdue's International Breast Cancer & Nutrition project, a group of medical researchers around the globe.
“This is a major result and nobody has ever shown this before,” says Sophie Lelièvre, professor of cancer pharmacology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Showing that glyphosate can trigger tumor growth, when combined with another frequently observed risk, is an important missing link when it comes to determining what causes cancer. ”
Read the rest of the story from Purdue here or coverage from Sustainable Pulse here.
The scientific article can be found here.