New Research Links Meat Consumption with Cancer Growth

Organic, free-range, or factory farmed—according to a new study conducted by UC San Diego’s School of Medicine, all red meat and milk spurs the growth of cancerous tumors.


Researchers found a non-human cellular molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) inside human cancerous tumors. The study, published Friday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the molecule causes inflammation and further cancer cell growth.

As it turns out, that molecule is found solely in animal-based food products like dairy and red meat. Perhaps PETA was right to suggest meat-eaters deserve higher insurance premiums.

“The paradox of Neu5Gc accumulating in human tumors in the face of circulating antibodies suggested that a low-grade, chronic inflammation actually facilitated the tumor growth,” said co-author Nissi M.Varki, M.D., UC San Diego professor of pathology.

The research, performed on mice, also found that anti-inflammatory drugs could halt the growth caused by Neu5Gc and even shrink the tumors slightly.

“Taken together, our data indicate that chronic inflammation results from interaction of Neu5Gc accumulated in our bodies from eating red meat with the antibodies that circulate as an immune response to this non-human molecule – and this may contribute to cancer risk,” said Varki.

The study, funded in part by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, lends credence to research found in T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study which claim that milk and animal proteins cause cancer cell growth.

Photo Credit: .craig on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

About the Author

is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.

  • ricky

    is this really post worthy

    “and this may contribute to cancer risk,” so theres a possible connection kinda like cell phones, microwaves, wifi, diet soda chemicals

    wanna know what else leads to disease….too many simple/empty carbs

  • Excellent post!

  • Thanks for posting such a valuable information. Meat consumption is high among people. There is high risk of cancer with meat consumption. Proper care need to be taken.


  • I have to agree with Ricky on this one. I think the worst diet generally consists of simple carbs and sugars.