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Does Collagen Cause Pancreatic Cancer?

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On the other hand, preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that collagen may slow the development of (pancreatic cancer) cells to some extent under some conditions. 

Hi David- What about the articles that say collagen (COL) and collagen peptides causes pancreatic cancer and other cancers? Nancy

Hi Nancy-

Thanks for reaching out. I am replying to your question via email because the website is limited in linking, etc.
According to the article linked below, collagen is a component of many, (maybe all?) types of solid tumors. The article does not say that collagen causes cancer or that collagen spurs/increases cancer. The article says that collagen and cancer interact. Considering how much collagen is in the human body, it is to be expected that collagen is a component of solid tumors.
Scrolling to the conclusions portion of the article at the very bottom of the article, it says that collagen is a double edges sword. In short, collagen may be both a positive and a negative.
In my case, I am a long-term survivor of a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. A long-term priority of mine is bone and heart health. And my bone and heart  health depends, somewhat, on my exercise and muscle health. Please believe me when I say I am not muscular at all. I am a typical 60 year old trying to maintain his overall weight (200 lbs.), and slow the inevitable sagging of my muscles, skin, etc.
My understanding is that our COL production slows as we age. I don’t think I will cause additional cancers by supplementing COL. I hope to maintain heart, bone and muscle health by supplementing with collagen, exercise, eating nutritionally, etc.
To reiterate, I don’t think that COL causes pancreatic cancer. I think COL is a component of solid cancer tumors. There is a big difference.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
David Emerson
  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

What is collagen, and why do people use it?

“COL is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.

It is the substance that holds the body together. COL forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.”

The role of collagen in cancer: from bench to bedside

COL is the major component of the tumor microenvironment and participates in cancer fibrosis. COL biosynthesis can be regulated by cancer cells through mutated genes, transcription factors, signaling pathways and receptors; furthermore, collagen can influence tumor cell behavior through integrins, discoidin domain receptors, tyrosine kinase receptors, and some signaling pathways. 
Exosomes and microRNAs are closely associated with COL in cancer. Hypoxia, which is common in collagen-rich conditions, intensifies cancer progression, and other substances in the extracellular matrix, such as fibronectin, hyaluronic acid, laminin, and matrix metalloproteinases, interact with collagen to influence cancer cell activity. 
Macrophages, lymphocytes, and fibroblasts play a role with collagen in cancer immunity and progression. Microscopic changes in collagen content within cancer cells and matrix cells and in other molecules ultimately contribute to the mutual feedback loop that influences prognosis, recurrence, and resistance in cancer. 
The pathophysiological functions of collagen in diverse cancers illustrate the dual roles of collagen and provide promising therapeutic options that can be readily translated from bench to bedside. The emerging understanding of the structural properties and functions of collagen in cancer will guide the development of new strategies for anticancer therapy
In cancer cells, the content and distribution of COL is modified to further coordinate cancer cell biological properties, including various gene mutations, transcription factors, signal transduction pathways, and receptors.
 Conclusions- Cells and molecules in the tumor microenvironment have dual effects on cancer progression. The role of COL is a double-edged sword in cancer. On the one hand, COL, cancer cells, other cells, and other matrix molecules mutually form an inter-reinforcing loop. This loop contributes to the development of cancer by inducing cancer cells proliferation, migration, and metastasis.

On the other hand, preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that COL may slow the development of cancer cells to some extent under some conditions. 

In summary, the association of COL with cancer is only partially understood, and future studies are needed to elucidate detailed collagen biological mechanisms in cancer tissue that can be applied to precisely regulate collagen balance to achieve the maximum benefit of treatment.

This new strategy combined with other treatment modalities can ultimately improve patient survival and quality of life.”

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