Chemotherapy is not medicine; it is not a therapy at all. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology lambastes chemotherapy for causing mitochondrial dysfunction in patients’ muscles. This is not some simple side effect. This is a direct debilitating effect inflicted on patients, a condition that causes fatigue, weakness, oxidative stress, and muscle wasting in patients. The research, conducted at the University of Vermont, finds that breast cancer patients are harmed by the chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin and paclitaxel. These are the so-called medications that are commonly used post-surgery in breast cancer patients.
The mitochondria are the energy center of the cells. Cancer treatment should maximize the energy production of cells, not restrict it. Maximizing mitochondrial energy production is one of the keys for a healthy cancer recovery. Breast cancer drugs are literally creating the conditions for future cancers to develop and take hold. (Related: Chemotherapy found to increase the number of tumor cells circulating in the blood, spreading it to previously unaffected areas.)
To get a better understanding, the University of Vermont research team compared muscle fibers from women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer post tumor removal. Compared to a healthy control group, these women experienced pronounced muscle loss, indicated by a lower cross sectional area of muscle fibers. Next, the researchers applied chemotherapy drugs to mouse muscle cells and studied their mitochondria. The mitochondria were significantly reduced in number and oxidative stress was discovered along with atrophy. The researchers found that doxorubicin and paclitaxel inflict severe oxidative stress which damages cells, restricts mitochondrial energy production, speeds up cell death, and initiates the conditions for chronic diseases.