Inflammation: is it the basic building block as well as the regulator of cancer? Herbal medicines as adjuvant therapies


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While it has long been known by Complementary Medicine Practitioners that excess inflammation and oxidation are basic triggers for oncogenesis, today there is increasing research indicating that excess inflammation is not only a trigger for oncogenesis but is also a major contributing factor to cancer's survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and metastases. Currently there is extensive research largely around a role for COX-2 inhibitors with pharmaceuticals such as Vioxx® and Celebrex® to be prescribed in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Aspirin® and NSAIDs are also being researched to improve outcomes by reducing inflammation. This paper will provide evidence that many herbal medicines effectively regulate both the COX-1 and COX-2 pathways, commonly through NFkB. Carcinogens can trigger inflammation by activating NFkB whereas herbal medicines inhibit it. Herbal medicines with their effectiveness in the modulation of the inflammatory pathways, and given as adjuvant therapies, will potentially reduce the pharmaceutical load and the attendant side effects. Herbal medicines therefore hold great potential for the future incorporation into medical treatments for cancer.

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