According to a journalist for the prestigious journal Science (November 29, 2013), “Cholesterol….when metabolized by the body…turns into a potent estrogen-like molecule that spurs the growth of breast cancer in mice, and perhaps in people. That’s the conclusion of…studies that shed new light on the link between obesity and cancer.” And this journalist goes on to quote a highly qualified scientist in Boston who says, “No one had thought of it before. It raises a new potential strategy.”
I could not have hoped for a better illustration on how medical research goes so far astray! It beautifully illustrates the main theme in my new book, Whole (2013).
The pathway summarizing this new finding is shown in the chart (re-drawn as in Science). Mainly, it shows how high serum cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) connects to breast cancer. Cholesterol is metabolized by an enzyme in the breast tissue, CYP27A1, to produce 27HC (27-dehydrocholesterol) which has estrogen-like activity and which enhances breast cancer growth in a Petri dish in the laboratory. They also found that elevated CYP27A1 enzyme activities in human breast cancer were associated with tumors that are more aggressive.
In short, high serum cholesterol levels, high CYP27A1 enzyme levels and more of the estrogen-like 27HC makes breast tumors more aggressive–something “no one had thought of before.” This is not quite true because it omits or sidelines highly related evidence that substantially changes their conclusion.
Our findings in [...]