Could Some Iron Supplements Raise Your Risk of Colon Cancer?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nathalie Scheers PhD Asst. Professor Chalmers University of Technology Dept of Biology and Biological Engineering Food and Nutrition Science Göteborg, Sweden 

Dr. Scheers

Nathalie Scheers PhD
Asst. Professor
Chalmers University of Technology
Dept of Biology and Biological Engineering
Food and Nutrition Science
Göteborg, Sweden 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many different forms of iron supplements are used to treat iron deficiency symptoms or as phosphate binders in patients with renal disease. two of these iron supplements, the chelates ferric citrate and ferric EDTA have been observed to drive colon cancer in mice. In the newly published study in Oncotarget, we are reporting our work on how these iron compounds differ compared to the simple salt ferrous sulphate, which is another common iron supplement.

The main finding of this study was that ferric citrate and ferric EDTA promoted the cancer biomarker amphiregulin which in turn activated the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells. There were no such effects in ferrous sulphate-treated cells. 

“Supplements - lycopene, ubiquinol, cherry, omega-3 & multivitamin” by Health Gauge is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: An iron compound is not just iron, it is iron and a ligand, and which ligand iron is associated with, matters. The specific iron compound used for fortification of a food product, should be stated in the ingredient list, to allow consumers to make an educated choice. However, we should of course remove potentially harmful iron supplements from the market in the first place.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Research done on iron supplements/fortificants should acknowledge the specific iron compound used in the studies. Also, only results from studies using the very same iron compound should be associated/correlated in terms of biological effects.

Citations:

Ferric citrate and ferric EDTA but not ferrous sulfate drive amphiregulin-mediated activation of the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells
Nathalie M. Scheers1,2, Dora I.A. Pereira2,3,4, Nuno Faria2,5 and Jonathan J. Powell2,5
Oncotarget. 2018; 9:17066-17077. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24899
Published: March 30, 2018 

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