Add as bookmark

Cancer, Atherosclerosis and Sympathetic Dominance

by Carlos ETB Monteiro(more info)

listed in cancer, originally published in issue 223 - July 2015

I have read with interest the article Hypothesis: Cancer causes and mechanisms by John Spottiswoode, published in Positive Health PH Online in Issue 110 - April 2005,[1] where he proposes the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) as cause of cancer.

From his article I have learned about a study presented at the Third World Congress on Cancer held in 1997, showing an extremely high correlation to cancer developed in individuals having a high sympathetic nervous system activity.[2] He also has cited in his article, aside other studies whose authors had the same line of thought, a paper showing that major ANS dysfunction is extremely common in advanced cancer.[3]

Well, I think that John Spottiswoode is right in his assumption. Moreover taking in account the discovery that drugs with sympatholytic properties - directly by reduction of sympathetic nervous system activity or indirectly through the improvement of baroreceptor function or by strengthening the vagus nervous system, like digitalis (digoxin, digitoxin, etc…, at low dosages)[4] and Beta blockers,[5] are now considered as potential anticancer agents. Recently, a study found that intravenous Vitamin C Boosts Chemo's Cancer-Fighting Power.[6] Certainly the benefit of Vitamin C for cancer is resulted from its property by improvement of baroreceptor function or reducing the sympathetic activity.[7,8,9]

On the other hand it is well-known that cancer and atherosclerosis share many common risk factors, most of them leading to sympathetic dominance over the parasympathetic system.[10] Besides, it was long recognized the value of stress reduction programs like relaxation techniques for cancer and atherosclerotic disease.

Digitalis, Beta Blockers and vitamin C are also potential anti-atherosclerotic agents which are advocated through our acidity theory of atherosclerosis[11,12,13] where sympathetic dominance is the primary step in the cascade of events leading to the atherogenic process. It is particularly interesting to notice about the recent findings by researchers from Germany[14] and from US[15] showing there is an inverse association between cancer history and autopsy-proven atherosclerotic disease, differing in rates depending on types of cancer. These papers confirm the results of old studies like the one made by Wansher and colleagues in 1951 which, based on material from 1835 autopsies, have demonstrated that atherosclerotic lesions are less pronounced in patients suffering from carcinoma than among non-cancerous persons.[16]  The solution of the puzzle represented by the inverse relationship between cancer and atherosclerotic disease may take some time. In our view the autonomic nervous dysfunction and metabolic pathways are potential ways to solve the matter and should be prioritized by the investigators for this task. Meanwhile, millions and millions of people with cancer or atherosclerosis deserve immediate solution for their illnesses. Sympatholytic drugs and vitamin C, aside of stress reduction management, are very good alternative ways for that.

Note: The chronic sympathetic dominance leads to raised catecholamine (stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline) release, accelerating glycolysis metabolism, therefore increasing lactic acid/lactate concentration in blood and tissues worsening cancer and atherosclerotic disease among other clinical conditions [17].

Finally, it is important to mention a study published in 2013 at Science Journal, where the authors say in their conclusion:[18] “These results suggest that the formation of new nerve fibers within and around prostate tumours can alter tumour behavior. The autonomic nervous system appears to exert dual functions in prostate cancer: Sympathetic neonerves promote early stages of tumorigenesis, whereas parasympathetic nerve fibers promote cancer dissemination. Conceivably, drugs targeting both branches of the autonomic nervous system could provide therapeutic benefit.”

Carlos Monteiro

President, Infarct Combat Project  


  1. Hypothesis: Cancer causes and mechanisms by John Spottiswoode, published in Positive Health PH Online in issue 110 - April 2005 at
  2. Danev Sv, Svetoslavov S and Datzov E. A Chronic Decrease of Heart Rate Variability Can Precede Some Cases of Cancer. 3rd World Congress on Cancer. Darwin National Centre of Hygiene. Sofia. April 25-27, 1997 at  
  3. Walsh D and Nelson KA. Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction in Advanced Cancer. Support Care Cancer, 2002; 10: 523-528 at  
  4. Carlos Monteiro. 'Digitalis: the insulin for cancer" published in 2006 at  
  5. Shahid Akbar, Mansour Saleh Alsharidah. Are Beta Blockers New Potential Anticancer Agents? Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 15, 2014 at 8&key=2014.15.22.9567
  6. IV Vitamin C Boosts Chemo's Cancer-Fighting Power?
  7. Kevin D. Monahan et al, Ascorbic acid increases cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity in healthy older men. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 286: H2113–H2117, 2004.
  8. Gianfranco Piccirillo et al., Influence of Vitamin C on Baroreflex Sensitivity in Chronic Heart Failure. Hypertension. 2003; 41:1240-1245.
  9. Bruno RM et al. Effect of acute administration of vitamin C on muscle sympathetic activity, cardiac sympathovagal balance, and baroreflex sensitivity in hypertensive patients. Am J Clin Nutr August 2012 vol. 96 no. 2 302-308. Full free text at   
  10. Carlos Monteiro. Acidity Theory of Atherosclerosis presentation in the Fourth International Conference of Advanced Cardiac Sciences - The King of Organs Conference, 2012 at  
  11. Book Acidity Theory of Atherosclerosis - New Evidences, 2012 - Chapter ‘The potential positive effect of improvement in baroreflex function on prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis’,  at  
  12. Jagielska, Gustavo Salguero, Bernhard Schieffer, Udo Bavendiek. Digitoxin elicits antiinflammatory and vasoprotective properties in endothelial cells: Therapeutic implications for the treatment of atherosclerosis?, at  
  13. Kolkhof P et al. Cardiac glycosides potently inhibits C-reactive protein synthesis in human hepatocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Mar 26;394(1): 233-9 at  
  14. Budczies J et al. Comprehensive analysis of clinico-pathological data reveals heterogeneous relations between atherosclerosis and cancer. J Clin Pathol 2014 Jun;67(6): 482-90 at  
  15. Mathew Li, Michael J Cima and Danny A Milner Jr. If it’s not one thing, it’s another: An inverse relationship of malignance and atherosclerotic disease. PLOS ONE, May 22, 2015 at  
  16. O Wanscher et al. Negative Correlation between atherosclerosis and carcinoma, 1951 at  
  17. Carlos Monteiro. Stress as Cause of Heart Attacks – The Myogenic Theory originally published in the Wise Traditions Journal (Fall edition, 2014) from Weston A. Price Foundation. Reproduced in Positive Health Online (Issue 222, May 2015), at
  18. Claire Magnon , Simon J. Hall, et al. Autonomic Nerve Development Contributes to Prostate Cancer Progression. Science Vol. 341 no. 6142. 12 July 2013 at


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Carlos ETB Monteiro

Carlos ETB Monteiro is an independent researcher and scientist from Brazil with 43 years’ experience in dealing with medical matters. In 1972 he became a follower in the scientific plan from Dr Quintiliano H de Mesquita, originator of the myogenic theory of myocardial infarction and other pioneer medical contributions (QHM Memorial). In 1999 he participated in the foundation of Infarct Combat Project and elected president by the board of directors. Carlos Monteiro is still supporting Dr Mesquita’s medical and scientific ideas, through Infarct Combat Project. Recently he has developed a new hypothesis to explain atherosclerosis that was named acidity theory of atherosclerosis. The blog new evidences about his Acidity Theory you can find here.

He is a non-official member of "The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS - and Fellow of the American Institute of Stress ( and is also a  member of the honorary board of Weston A Price Foundation ( His recent book Acidity Theory of Atherosclerosis - New Evidences, 2012 is available for Kindle readers and in paperback at  also in paperback. Carlos Monteiro is one of the signatories of a letter to The Academy Obesity Steering Group entitled “Obesity is an Iatrogenic Disease”. He recently presented two lectures in  the Fourth International Conference of Advanced Cardiac Sciences - The King of Organs Conference, 2012, Saudi Arabia: the first about the Myogenic Theory of Myocardial Infarction (Powerpoint presentation and video),  the second about the Acidity Theory of Atherosclerosis (Powerpoint presentation and video). Carlos Monteiro may be contacted via

  • nutrition and cancer

    by Sandra Goodman PhD The latest scientific research regarding Nutrition and Cancer. Full details at

  • Liposomal Nutrients

    Optimum system for nutrient delivery to cells - fully bioavailable vitamins absorbed and metabolised

  • mycology research MRL

    MRL markets mushroom products food grade US & Netherlands GMP standards. Health Professional Videos

  • Flower essences online

    Fine quality flower essences international ranges to help promote vitality and emotional well-being.

  • Super Patch Wellbeing

    Super Patches – a most revolutionary advance in wellbeing strategies in the history of medicine

top of the page