Glyphosate Cancer Risk

Glyphosate cancer risk is growing steadily with plenty of proof as we will explain in this article!

By: Dr. Nathan Goodyear 

You may or may not be aware of the glyphosate. It is hard to miss it though. It can be found in your local community hardware store. The glyphosate cancer risk is very real.

The purpose? To kill those pesky, unsightly weeds. You know the commercial product as Roundup.  Glyphosate is the active component within Roundup and other common anti-weed products available on the market. Glyphosate functions as a non-selective, broad-spectrum herbicide. Glyphosate has been approved for use in the U.S. for 42 years [56].

 Glyphosate exposure is on the rise.  A 2017 study out of University of California San Diego found that human glyphosate exposure has increased 500% since 1993 [57]. In fact, 70% of the individuals evaluated tested positive for glyphosate.

Glyphosate is found primarily in the soil and from the produce grown from the soil i.e. carrots, potatoes. Another 2017 study of soil samples from countries in the EU found that 45% of the soil samples submitted were contaminated with either glyphosate and/or metabolites of glyphosate [58].

So why the concern?  How about a 41% increase in cancer risk. A February 2019 study found a 41% increase in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a result of glyphosate exposure [59]. Glyphosate’s cancer risk connection was recently evident in a $78.5 million verdict against Bayer, who recently purchased Monsanto, out of California.

Listen to Dr. Nathan Goodyear Explain The Associated Cancer Risk from Glyphosate

Glyphosate toxicity has been the focus of intense debate in recent years, but has been shown to have numerous potential negative effects [60]:

  • Carcinogenic
  • Tumor growth promotion
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Tissue-specific toxicity
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Immune suppression
  • Disruption of gap-junction intercellular signaling
  • Oxidative stress

 For the purpose of this blog, the estrogen effects of glyphosate are front and center.  Glyphosate does have weak affinity and stimulators effect in binding to the estrogen receptors but it does so much more.

A recent study showed that glyphosate increased the up-regulation of ER-alpha expression in addition to pro-growth, carcinogenic VEGFR2, pERK, PI3K, and PCNA [61]. This was also evident in an earlier study that showed that glyphosate increased the expressed ratio of ER-alpha to ER-beta [62].

Let me restate that statement to clarify the significant impact that glyphosate has on potential ER activity. Remember that the ER expression in breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and other cancers is the ER-alpha form.

Glyphosate signals the DNA to increase the production of ER-alpha. As a result of the ER-alpha production and expression as a result of glyphosate, the cell has an increased capacity to respond to estrogen.

Add this to the increased exposure to endogenous estrogen production and an increase in estrogen in the environment through other xenoestrogens and the table is set up for an estrogenic signaling environment that favors cancer. This is how in utero exposure can change the body even prior to birth.

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[56] Benbrook CM. Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally. Environ Sci Eur. 2016;28(1):3. doi:10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0.

[57] Mills P, Kania-Korwel I, Fagan J et al. Excretion of the Herbicide Glyphosate in Older Adults Between 1993 and 2016. JAMA. 2017;318(16):1610-1611. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11726.

[58] Silva V, Montanarella L, Jones A, Fernandez-Ugalde O, Mol H, Ritsema C, Geissen V. Distribution of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in agricultural topsoils of the European Union. Science of the Total Environment. April 15 2018;621: 1352-1359.

[59] Zhang L, Rana L, Schaffer R, Taioli E, Sheppard L. Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research. Feb 10 2019.

[60] Tarazona JV, Court-Marques D, Tiramani M, et al. Glyphosate toxicity and carcinogenicity: a review of the scientific basis of the European Union assessment and its differences with IARC. Arch Toxicol. 2017;91(8):2723–2743. doi:10.1007/s00204-017-1962-5.

[61] Sritana N, Suriyo T, Kanitwithayanum J, Songvasin BH, Thiantanawat A, Satayavivad J. Glyphosate induces growth of estrogen receptor alpha positive cholangiocarcinoma cells via non-genomic estrogen receptor/ERK1/2 signaling pathway. Food and Chemical Toxicology. Aug 2018;118:595-607.

[62] Thongprakaisang S, Thiantanawat A, Rangkakilok N, Suriyo T, Satayavivad J. Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors. Food and Chemical Toxicology. Sept 2013;59:129-136.

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