The role of vitamin C in cancer treatment has been the subject of debate for years,with many anecdotal accounts of its beneficial role in both the prevention and treatment of the disease.
Now,a new study has confirmed that vitamin C indeed helps fight cancer by curbing the growth of tumour cells,the ‘Cancer Research’ journal reported.
“Our results offer a promising and simple intervention to help in our fight against cancer,at the level of both prevention and cure,” lead researcher Prof Margreet Vissers of University of Otago said.
The study looked at whether vitamin C levels were lowered in patients with endometrial tumours. It investigated whether the cancer cells had low vitamin C levels and whether this correlated with tumour aggressiveness and resistance to chemotherapy.
Prof Vissers and her colleagues found tumours were less able to accumulate vitamin C compared with normal healthy tissue,and that this related to the ability of the tumour to survive and grow.
Tumours with low vitamin C levels had more of a protein called HIF-1 which allows them to thrive in conditions of stress.
The findings are significant as they show,for the first time,a direct relationship between HIF-1 and vitamin C levels in tumours and suggest it will be beneficial for people with cancer cells to have more vitamin C.
This could help limit the rate of tumour growth,increase the responsiveness to chemotherapy and may prevent the formation of solid tumours,say the researchers.