Ryke Geerd Hamer, inventor of the German New Medicine, claims that there is no such thing as cancer metastasis.
Hamer also claims that cancer does not spread through the bloodstream.
However, these claims can easily be checked out, and that is just what jli, our pathologist, has done in this post.
The first has to do with cancer spreading through the bloodstream. Hamer claims that this never happens. According to him, metastatic tumours are in reality new tumours arising in the affected organ. He says that a major argument against the “spread of cancer cells through the blood stream hypothesis” is the fact that “no one has ever observed live cancer cells in the blood stream”.
One might suspect that he never read any pathology reports while working as a conventional oncologist. And apparently, he also didn’t read any of the numerous scientific articles describing the significance of vascular invasion by cancer cells. In the photo below you can see for yourself what this phenomenon looks like.
Vascular invasion of cancer cells
This is an example of the microscopic appearance of vascular invasion. In the middle you can see a vein with cancer cells inside. The transportation of cancer cells through the blood stream is a real and commonly observed phenomenon.
Another opinion of Hamer that can easlily be checked is that immunohistochemical examination of a metastasis is useless because as he puts it: “…this procedure does not identify metastasizing cancer cells but only proteins, released from a tumour”. And he believes that a webpage about “Atomic Force Microscopy” backs him up on this view. Needless to say the website says nothing of the sort. In fact, immunohistochemistry clearly identifies proteins within the cancer cells and thus shows us where the metastatic cancer cells originate from.
To understand how immunohistochemistry really works you only have to know two things:
1) Cancer cells try to imitate the normal cells of the organ they originate in – including the production of structural proteins characteristic of the cell type in question.
2) These structural proteins can be detected through immunohistochemistry.
The photo below is a microscopy photo from a large bowel cancer, where you can see the adjacent normal cells on the left, and the cancer cells that try to imitate them on the right.
Cancer cells imitating normal cells
An important structural protein in normal large bowel cells is a protein called “cytokeratin 20”. If the pathologist looks at an immunohistochemical staining for “cytokeratin 20” he sees positive reaction in the cancer cells as well as in those normal cells the cancer imitates. It looks like the photo below. The brown color shows where cytokeratin 20 is present. Again the normal cells are on the left, and the cancer cells are on the right.
Immunohistochemical staining of cancer cells
Now let’s make this fact useful. The photo below is a microscopy photo of a core biopsy from a liver metastasis without the use of immunohistochemistry. The cancer cells are at the top of the picture, and the normal liver cells are at the bottom.
Core biopsy of liver metastasis without immunohistochemistry
A pathologist has no trouble in telling which cells are normal and which cells are cancerous, but based on this alone it is not possible to tell where the cancer comes from. Immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratin 20 staining on the biopsy looks like this photo:
Core biopsy of liver metastasis with immunohistochemistry
It shows that the cancer cells contain the same structural protein as the cells of the large bowel (and the cancers that originate from them). And sure enough this patient did turn out to have a large bowel cancer.
So, in conclusion:
1) Cancer cells do appear in the blood stream
2) Immunohistochemistry does show cancer cells
3) Cancer cells have features of the cells from which they originate – and this is readily seen through immunohistochemistry.