Scientific Background

Early Work

In 1863 Rudolf Virchow noted that cancer tends to occur at sites of chronic inflammation.1

Virchow saw that cancer was associated with white blood cells that produced irritation (inflammation).

This theory that cancer can be caused by inflammation was never taken seriously until 120 years later.

A 1986 study by Dvorak triggered a resurgence in interest in cancer and inflammation.

Dvorak notes that the rapid cell division associated with closure of wounds is obviously benign and is accelerated by high inflammation. The study then notes that less benign cell division is likely also associated with inflammation.2

Rudolf Virchow linked cancer to inflammation in 1863

Since Virchow's work, more than 10,000 scientific papers have been written on the link between cancer and inflammation

Recent Literature and Studies

Since 2000 the literature linking cancer to inflammation has grown exponentially with a focus on the underlying biology and detailed mechanism studies in animals. There have been well more than 1,000 studies on this topic.

Epidemiologic Studies

It is also important to note that there a number of epidemiologic studies that support a link between chronic inflammation and both the incidence and prognosis of cancer.

These studies have explored the relationship between cancer occurrence and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).

CRP is the most widely used marker of inflammation in man and is upregulated by IL-6, which in turn is generally upregulated by IL-1.

Some examples of studies:

Rotterdam Study: The Siemes (2006) study of 7,017 persons in Rotterdam found that persons with high CRP were more likely to get cancer.

Korea Study: The Lee (2011) study of 80,781 persons found that persons in the top CRP tertile were twice as likely to get cancer.

Utrecht Study: The van’t Klooster, Ridker (2019) study of 7,178 persons with stable CVD found that the risk of lung cancer was 340% higher in the top quintile of subjects by CRP than the bottom.

Denmark Study: The study by Allin (2009) of 10,408 Danes found that persons with CRP over 3 were twice as likely to get lung cancer as those with a CRP below 1.

1 See Virchow, R (1863) Cellular pathology as based upon physiological and pathological histology. J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia. To read go to:

2 Dvorak HF. Tumors: wounds that do not heal. Similarities between tumor stroma generation and wound healing. N Engl J Med. 1986;315:1650–1659.