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Here's an interesting thought: "Are Dead Cancer Cells Feeding Cancer's Spread?"

Posts: 1835
Joined: Oct 2009

Reseachers at University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB) are "examining inactivated or altered genetic material (DNA) left in the body after breast-cancer cells are exposed to chemotherapy. UAB researchers say the resulting altered DNA may be the factor that activates the spread of living cancer cells to distant locations in the body-a deadly process called metastasis--through a specific molecular pathway"

Reported at newswise this date

While its breast cancer they are studying, the idea itself is thought-provoking, I think....steve

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

My CEA has been going up since January. It went from 8.4 to 11.5 in two weeks. My doctor said this could be from cancer cells dying off. If dying cancer cells makes your CEA go up then why can't dying cells also spread to other parts of the body and start all over again? Please keep us updated on this study.

Debbie in Arkansas

Shayenne's picture
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Joined: Jan 2009

..I hope that's why mine is just going slower as well...I hope in the midst of all this, we all find our well, and hope to God that's our cure :)

minding that cure and staying with it, is just the thing we can all hope for, for now, it's all we have, and lets not lose that that :)

I hope we can keep the faith, my hope is with yours, we will all be here for each other.


Posts: 1835
Joined: Oct 2009

to what happens if cells are killed off by rad/chemo, like when tumors shrink prior to surgery, what shrunk-where did that part go?. The surgery removes however much the surgeon can, if you have surgery, as do other procedures. Being that you eliminate the chemo via urine you would think thats maybe how cells killed off are removed from the body. Does radiation just zap cells to oblivion? Have no idea..... I was left shaking my head to myself after first reading article.....Seen a few other articles but thet only repeat what was in first one I'd seen.....But if you think about it, how can the so-called "dead" cells that are supposedly left in the body and don't appear to influence being declared NED suddenly give birth to mets sometime down the road?...Perhaps healthy cells impacted my chemo/rad have the potential to run amok in the future (in addition to that one or two cell(s) that manages to avoid detection and destruction)....Like I said, perhaps thought provoking.....Enjoy your weekend as best you can,,..steve

Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

"If dying cancer cells makes your CEA go up then why can't dying
cells also spread to other parts of the body and start all over again? "

The cancer cells that die don't "make your CEA go up", the cells
have CEA and it's released more quickly when they die.

When we die, our systems quit and we defecate and urinate all at once;
same thing with the lil' buggers.

If/when a tumor dies quickly, the amount of CEA released can be
fairly toxic. The phenomena is well known and accepted.

The dead cells are carried away by the immune system and
our system's normal procedure.

I don't know what this "new study" is all about, but it doesn't
make too much sense. The text that reads:
"researchers say the resulting altered DNA may be the factor"

I think the words "may be" should be emphasized.

I "may be" the next 20 million dollar lottery winner.


lisa42's picture
Posts: 3663
Joined: Jul 2008


If not by snare, how they're currently removed, how would they be removed then? Scary that their removal could be seeding cancer cells, but what is the alternative? If there is one, I'm interested in hearing about it.

The early removal of polyps has been shown to prevent cancer (taking them out before they become cancerous). Actually, if polyps are removed as just polyps, then they wouldn't be seeding cancer cells at all, as they aren't even cancerous yet themselves.
I suppose, going along with your theory here, that it would only seed the cancer cells if the polyps being removed were actually already cancerous tumors. In that case, aren't most usually not removed until the patient undergoes a colon or rectal resection surgery?

Just wondering about this all now...


sharpy102's picture
Posts: 334
Joined: Apr 2009

Uhm...I'm not smart, but did (and still do) lots of reading on cancer, and the way they spread etc. Well, "altered" DNA (coming from the dead tumor cell) certainly cannot help the spread of tumor cells. The "altered" DNA is altered because it has the uracyl built into it already due to chemo (5-FU= 5-fluoro-uracyl). A normal cell's DNA does not contain ANY uracyl as uracyl cannot be transcribed during replication. If there's a uracyl in the DNA then that DNA will not be able to replicate, hence the cell that has the DNA with uracyl will not be able replicate as well. The "CEA" is a marker, that "marks" a compound that is found in every single cell in the human body, but in a low level. When you have tumor, those cells propagate faster than the normal cells, hence your overall CEA level will be higher than the normal. When you get chemotherapy, or a surgery to remove these cells, some of these cells break "open" releasing all the materials that they have inside, starting from their DNA, into mitochondria, ER and whatnot. These gets into your system, blood stream and carried away. Therefore, your CEA level will be slightly elevated right after your surgery (or chemo) but should drop back eventually as these compounds will be emptied by your system, as well as broken down to smaller components...yes, maybe some components does get taken up by "nearby" smaller cancerous cells, but I personally don't think those contribute to metastasis. I would more believe that by totally "screwing up" the pathway in the cell cycle, maybe that gets triggered even more by a chemo, or surgery and thus "help" the existing cancer cells to spread and replicate faster. But you guys also have to keep in mind: if you don't do chemo, or don't do surgery...is that better? No, it's not. You still remove/kill a chuck of monsters...and I think SO FAR this is the best they can do currently! But research does not stop, and one day these monsters are going to belong to the past for good!!!!

Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

Although I believe all the data that tells us that cancer cells "can"
spread throughout the body when a tumor is disturbed, I wouldn't
take a leap of logic and assume that a colonoscopy can contribute to
the spread of cancer as well.

Getting a small cancerous polyp out of the intestinal tract early,
may or may not help save a person from eventually dying of
colon cancer...... There's just insufficient evidence to that, as yet....
But..... it can stave off the need for a resection, and/or the need for
an ostomy.

Cancer is a strange and insidious disease, morphing from one
area and into another area remote from it's starting point.

The pressure should be on the industry to find a way to get our
immune system to do the job, instead of inventing more toxic
chemicals that seem to kill everything in it's path, except for the
rogue cancer cell that will eventually grow to kill us.

(I thought I'd toss a lil' levity and lighten things up here)

Posts: 1835
Joined: Oct 2009

a means of identifying the cancer cells/tumor and attacking them only, not everything in its path. Whether via nonotechnology, vaccination, reprogramm**** immune system cells, the objective is to do what chemo does without the nasty side effects-kill the cancer and let me live.

In the article inciting above discussion the fundamental question to be answered was:"What if by killing cancer cells with chemotherapy we inadvertently induce DNA structures that make surviving cancer cells more invasive."

I do believe there is always the possibility that even after pre and post surgical Txs and subsequent NEDs there might be a cell or two hiding out and snaking its way elsewhere in tghe body to strike in the future when least expected in greater force than before. Its another reaason cancer is so ruthless....but I'm even more so........steve

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