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Glyphosate and Cancer

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GM and herbicide cancer warning suppressed in retracted study

Among the unsettling results of the Seralini study [1], which almost certainly lie behind its notorious retraction by the journal editor a year after it was published ([2] Retracting Seralini Study Violates Science & Ethics, SiS 61), are cancers in rats fed GM maize and/or exposed to Roundup. Although the word 'cancer' was never used by the authors, they recorded three 'metastases' (i.e., cancers) - two in females and one in a male - plus two kidney Wilm's tumours in male rats, which had to be euthanized a year early because the cancerous tumours grew to more than 25 % of body size. This makes a total of at least 5 cancers in the treatment groups, in addition to the excess of grotesquely large tumours, premature deaths, pituitary, kidney, liver, and other pathologies compared with the controls. The cancer cases certainly should not be ignored, and to make sure this important paper is not erased from public record, it is now freely available and permanently registered on thesparc [3] a floating knowledge archive for the survival of people and planet. The findings are especially important in the light of new research and indeed, previous research on the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate (and GM food).

Glyphosate promotes growth of human breast cancer cells at minute concentrations

A research team in Thailand led by Jutamaad Satayavivad at the Center of Excellence on Environmental Health and Toxicology, Ministry of Education, and The Chulabhorn Graduate Institute in Bangkok, published a paper [4] in the very same Journal from which the Séralini study was retracted. They found that glyphosate at minute concentrations enhanced the proliferation of human hormone-dependent breast cancer T47D cells, but not hormone-independent breast cancer MDA-MB231 cells. Their detailed experiments showed that glyphosate mimics the action of oestrogen, and uses the same molecular pathways as the natural hormone to promote proliferation of the cancer cells. They also found that glyphosate had synergistic effects in enhancing breast cancer cell growth in combination with genistein, a common phytoestrogen in soybean.

Glyphosate at concentrations between 10-12 and 10-6 M (0.169 ng/L to 0.169 mg/L) boosted the proliferation of T47D cells by 15 to 30 %, about half as effectively as the most potent oestrogen, 17 b-estradiol (E2).

The same low concentrations of glyphosate induced the activation of oestrogen response element (ERE) - a specific DNA sequence promoting gene expression with high affinity for the oestrogen receptor (ER) that binds oestrogen - thereby activating gene expression in response to oestrogen. Furthermore, this activation was inhibited by an oestrogen antagonist, ICI 182780, indicating that the estrogenic activity of glyphosate was mediated via ERs.

The highest oestrogen mimicking effect was at 10-9M or 0.169 mg/L and the effect was half that of oestrogen, the most potent growth-promoter in hormone-dependent breast cancer cells. ICI 182780, a specific inhibitor of oestrogen at 1 nM reduced the proliferative effects of both glyphosate and E2. At 10 nM it completely inhibited the growth enhancing effects of glyphosate, suggesting that glyphosate acts via the oestrogen receptor ER.

T47D-KBluc cells, with stably transfected triplet oestrogen response element (ERE) promoter-luciferase reporter gene construct, when treated with glyphosate at the concentration range of 10-12 to 10-6 M, proliferated at 5-13 fold of the controls without glyphosate or E2, less than half that induced by oestrogen.

That is not all. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used for soybean cultivation (especially for Roundup Ready GM soybean); and the researchers also found an additive oestrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a soybean phytoestrogen.    


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