Could cancer be a metabolic rather than a genetic disease?

This is a fascinating hypothesis. I’ve just scanned the article and am far from a molecular biologist; I’m just a simple country pathologist, but I work in a cancer hospital and wonder why we see so much of it around here? Today I made the diagnosis of colon cancer in a 39 year old! And I see squamous cell carcinoma, like the picture below, every week.

evan tumor picture

The hypothesis seems to be that damage to a cell’s oxidative metabolism (the way it uses oxygen to make energy) causes the cell to switch to more anaerobic metabolism, making lactate. Then the myriad of genetic changes we see FOLLOWS the damage, since messed up oxidative metabolism makes a lot of reactive oxygen species that in turn can damage DNA. The alternative hypothesis is that the genetic damage comes first, and the other changes in cancer cells follow from the initial genetic hit(s.) The second one is how PaleoPathologist was trained and is the dominant idea in oncology right now.

All of us periodically need to ask, “Could I be wrong about [fill in the blank?]”

Does this mean that PaleoPathologist’s ketogenic diet will keep him from getting cancer?  Who knows? But one thing I know is that so far I’ve not run across any convincing HARM from a high fat low carb diet. So for now I’m staying on it.

When have you run up against a totally revolutionary idea? What did you do?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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