Even lions are exposed to external and internal carcinogens, I would like to understand whether following hand waving arguments have merits.
cancer cells may not proliferate to form colonies for cancer growth and metastasis due to absence of glucose(Warburg).
lions(carnivore) do not eat gluten and lectins. Thus lions do not have leaking gut problem of inflammations.
My questions are: "are there enough accumulation of statistics for lions cancer?"
asked byingyukoh (172)
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on April 20, 2011
at 12:05 AM
They probably don't live long enough in the wild to get cancer. Any organism will necessarily acquire a cancerous mutation given a long enough period of time because DNA polymerase enzymes are not error-proof. No amount of prevention or "proviving" will change this. In general, evolution took care of the cancer inevitability by pushing its most likely onset beyond the typical lifespan of a given organism.
I've never heard that cancer cells DON'T proliferate in the absence of glucose, though I do know that they proliferate more quickly when provided with it. Cancerous cells, unless truly screwed up by an out-of-control cancerous mutation rate, still have the metabolic machinery and signal receptors required to metabolize molecules other than glucose for energy. As such, they could convert fats and amino acids into TCA cycle intermediates and derive their energy in the absence of glucose from there.
Lions, like all wild animals in a truly unspoiled habitat, should eat a diet that will keep their physiology in good shape, assuming they can find high-quality food semi-consistently. Because lions aren't exactly our evolutionary equals and not nearly as many pathophysiological studies have been performed on them as have been on humans, it's hard to say what molecules and, by extension, foods cause gut problems in them. Ostensibly, gluten and lectins would lead to a leaky gut, but they are carnivores, not omnivores like us; the implications of this are significant, but the specifics of their truly salubrious food spectrum aren't obvious. If forced to eat non-ideal food in the wild to survive, perhaps they could acquire leaky guts?
To address the statistics, a quick google search returned evidence for captive lions dying of cancer, but there were no immediate hits for anything about wild lions (who would fund that!?!?)
Basic biology is universal to all life, so it can be inferred from the facts in my first paragraph that lions probably do not get cancer in the wild unless some Armageddon mutation makes it an inevitability. Otherwise, they probably don't live long enough or experience enough biologically novel stimuli like gluten to induce cancerous growth among their cells.
on April 20, 2011
at 01:07 AM
"Why don't all whales have cancer? A novel hypothesis resolving Peto's paradox"
on April 20, 2011
at 07:28 AM
I'll just ask some folks in Packer's lab what they know about cancer in lions. Their studies deal with about 5000 different lions, they have the data. I just don't know if it is published yet.
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on May 28, 2013
at 03:02 AM
Perhaps it's because most big cats in US zoos are fed a diet of horse meat, which consists of horses which have been medicated with substances known to be carcinogens. Bute, Clenbeuterol, Ferusomide etc. Race horses are given 170 banned substances.
In the wild they would not be eating adulterated meat.