Oleic Acid, Primary Ingredient in Olive Oil, Linked to Metastasis - Emphasizing the Necessity for Further Clarity

March 16, 2024

New insights into cancer research have identified oleic acid, a primary component of olive oil, as potentially contributing to the progression of the disease towards distant organs, a process known as metastasis. The researchers underscored the complexity of their ongoing investigations, emphasizing that their findings do not refute previous evidence suggesting olive oil's potential benefits in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health issues. Metastasis prevention has long been a central focus in oncology, leading to the development of early detection initiatives for various cancers such as breast, skin, and colon cancer, among others, thereby enhancing treatment success rates.

Dr. Jessalyn Ubellacker's laboratory, situated at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and specializing in molecular metabolism, delves into the interconnection between dietary factors and cancer dissemination. Their research has unveiled that malignant cells acquire a protective layer rich in oleic acid while traversing through the lymph nodes. This fatty coat functions as a barrier against free radicals, reactive molecules in the bloodstream capable of assaulting the vulnerable cell membranes of unprotected cancer cells, ultimately leading to their destruction.

Dr. Ubellacker elaborated on the challenges cancer cells encounter as they navigate through the bloodstream, facing oxidative stress from free radicals that erode the phospholipid layers of cell membranes during this journey. This mechanism underscores the significance of oleic acid's protective role in shielding cancer cells from such detrimental effects.

SOURCE: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2024/03/surprising-link-to-an-everyday-food-in-cancer-findings/