Heparanase is an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which is produced by pathogenic bacteria that domicile generally in the intestinal tract. From there it will be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Heparanase is being increasingly connected to cancer. In fact, several studies have shown that increased levels of heparanase will directly increase tumor growth. It facilitates the production of blood vessels that feed the tumor, and its availability in the bloodstream produces greater risks of metastasizing (Vlodavsky et al. 2007).
Beta-glucuronidase also seems to convert certain molecules into procarcinogens.
The growth of vascular access to the tumor is stimulated by something researchers called tissue factor. When tissue factor increases, tumor cell growth increases (Nadir and Brenner 2010).
Beta-glucuronidase was first found to have a high activity among white blood cells among human leukemia patients and Hodgkin’s disease patients in 1950. In subsequent years, high beta-glucuronidase activity was found among breast cancer patients, uterine cancer patients, genital cancer, colon cancer and many other cancers (Odell et al. 1950, see others in reference list).
In 1980, Dr. Barry Goldin and his associate researchers reported on a series of studies that beta-glucuronidase was accompanied by a few other enzymes, such as nitroreductase, azoreductase, and steroid 7-alpha-dehydroxylase. These enzymes all seem to be produced in the intestinal tract, among infective bacteria. They also appeared relevant to colon and gastric cancer.
This led Dr. Goldin and his research teams to study the cause of these enzymes. It seemed that diets consisting of animal meats promoted higher levels of these bacteria, and these enzymes.
Dr. Goldin and his associates began to test the difference in levels of beta-glucuronidase between omnivore diets and vegetarian diets, and found that vegetarians have lower levels of beta-glucuronidase, nitroreductase, azoreductase, and steroid 7-alpha-dehydroxylase. In a 30-day study, the researchers removed meat from the diets of a group of omnivores for 30 days. A reduction of steroid 7-alpha-dehydroxylase occurred immediately. When the vegetarian group was given L. acidophilus supplementation, the group also showed a significant reduction in beta-glucuronidase and nitroreductase (Goldin et. al 1980).
Two years later, Dr. Goldin and associates (Goldin et al. 1982) studied 10 vegetarian and 10 omnivore women. He found that the vegetarian women produced significantly lower levels of beta-glucuronidase than the omnivore women.
The association between cancer and red meat has been shown conclusively in a variety of studies over the years. In an American Cancer Society cohort study (Chao et al. 2005) of 148,610 adults between the ages of 50 and 74 living in 21 states, higher intakes of red and processed meats were associated with higher levels of rectal and colon cancer after other cancer variables were eliminated.
Goldin BR, Adlercreutz H, Gorbach SL, Warram JH, Dwyer JT, Swenson L, Woods MN. Estrogen excre-tion patterns and plasma levels in vegetarian and omnivorous women. N Engl J Med. 1982 Dec 16;307(25):1542-7.
Goldin BR, Swenson L, Dwyer J, Sexton M, Gorbach SL. Effect of diet and Lactobacillus acidophilus supple-ments on human fecal bacterial enzymes. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1980 Feb;64(2):255-61.
Vlodavsky I, Ilan N, Nadir Y, Brenner B, Katz BZ, Naggi A, Torri G, Casu B, Sasisekharan R. Heparanase, heparin and the coagulation system in cancer progression. Thromb Res. 2007;120 Suppl 2:S112-20.
Nadir Y, Brenner B. Heparanase procoagulant effects and inhibition by heparins. Thromb Res. 2010 Apr;125 Suppl 2:S72-6.
Kumar M, Kumar A, Nagpal R, Mohania D, Behare P, Verma V, Kumar P, Poddar D, Aggarwal PK, Henry CJ, Jain S, Yadav H. Cancer-preventing attributes of probiotics: an update. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;61(5):473-96.
ODELL LD, PRIDDLE HD, BURT JC. Activity of beta-glucuronidase in human female genital tissues and in vaginal secretions. Am J Clin Pathol. 1950 Feb;20(2):133-40
ANLYAN AJ, GAMBLE J, HOSTER HA. Beta-glucuronidase activity of the white blood cells in human leukemias and Hodgkin’s disease. Cancer. 1950 Jan;3(1):116-23.
ODELL LD, BURT JC. Beta-glucuronidase activity in human female genital cancer. Cancer Res. 1949 Jun;9(6):362-5.
FISHMAN WH, ANLYAN AJ. The presence of high beta-glucuronidase activity in cancer tissue. J Biol Chem. 1947 Jul;169(2):449.
FISHMAN WH, ANLYAN AJ. beta-Glucuronidase activity in human tissues; some correlations with processes of malignant growth and with the physiology of reproduction. Cancer Res. 1947 Dec;7(12):808-17.
COHEN SL, HUSEBY RA. The effect of estrogen on the serum glucuronidase activity of patients with breast cancer. Cancer Res. 1951 Jan;11(1):52-5.