New cell culture studies and two different mouse models have shown that high-salt diets reduce tumor growth by changing certain immune cell functions.
More and more studies have shown anti-inflammatory effects due to excessive salt intake.
For example, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease are just a few autoimmune diseases that can worsen high salt immunity stimulation.
However, in the case of cancer, induction of inflammatory conditions may be useful in the treatment of tumors. Immunotherapy has recently become one of the most promising choices for cancer treatment.
In this context, the research team has conducted to investigate the effects of high cell salts in cell culture and two independent mouse models.
Markus Kleinewijkfeld, Head of the VIB-UHasselt Laboratory, Collaboration between the VIB (Institute of Biotechnology in Flanders) and the University of Hasselt in Belgium led the research team.
The researchers conducted cell culture experiments, reproducing high salinity media.
That method inhibits the high amount of salt in the tumor
They found that excessive salt inhibited the function of a type of immune cell scientist who called myeloid suppressor cells (MDSCs) in both mouse cells and in MDSC humans made by patients with cancer.
High salt media prevents MDSC from almost completely inhibiting immune cells. Previous studies, the researchers suggest, show that MDSC is the key to preventing effective immune system attacks by tumors.
In this study, overall depletion of MDSC, while maintaining a high salt medium, turned out to have an inhibitory effect on tumor growth, confirming that MDSC is very important for anti-cancer immunotherapy.
Also in the mouse model of transplant melanoma, rats fed high salt “showed significant inhibition of tumor growth” compared to the control group, the authors explained.
“The delay in tumor growth also appears on day 11 after injection,” they wrote, “which leads to a significant difference in tumor size between the two groups on Day 13 [post injection] and day of sacrifice.”
Finally, Professor Kleinewietfeld and the team tried to reproduce this result in a different pattern. So, you use a mouse model for lung cancer.
In this model, a high-salt diet “significantly slows tumor growth [lung cancer],” the researchers said.
“In this way,” they concluded, “[a high-salt diet] can significantly suppress tumor growth in two independent models of tumor transplants.”
“However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects and underlying molecular mechanisms and to evaluate the therapeutic potential for cancer immunotherapy,” said the lead researcher.
According to the American Cancer Society in the United States, at the end of 2019, and as a result, 1,762,450 new cases of cancer, 606,880 people will die.