Causes of Cancer

Breast Cancer and Cancer Bacteria

Part 2

2004 by Alan Cantwell, Jr., M.D., ctd. from previous page

Detecting acid-fast bacteria in breast cancer

As discovered by Virginia Livingston, the acid-fast stain is the essential stain to detect cancer bacteria in histopathologic microscopic tissue sections from breast cancer.

Using acid-fast staining techiques, bacteria have been identified in breast cancer, lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma (the so-called ”gay cancer” of AIDS) and other forms of cancer. [23-25]

Figure 1-5 show bacteria identified in breast cancer and in the metastasis to the skin. Figure 6-8 show the appearance of Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from the breast tumor metastasis to the skin.

All these microphotographs are from a woman who died of breast cancer at age 40, one year after her breast cancer and several positive lymph nodes were removed. A careful perusal of these photographs reveals that the cocci cultured from the tumor are similar, if not identical, to the coccoid forms seen in the original breast cancer tissue.

Smaller numbers of microbes were also identified in ”normal” and cancer-free breast tissue removed at the time of surgery. This suggests that the bacteria are not ”secondary invaders” because they are identifiable in areas before the tissue has been invaded by cancer cells. [23]

Histopathologic tissue section from infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast

Fig. 1: Histopathologic tissue section from infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast. Long arrows point to a cluster of intracellular coccoid forms; short arrows point to scattered extracellular coccoid forms. Intensified Kinyoun’s (acid-fast) stain; magnification x 1000, in oil.

Tissue section of breast cancer

Fig. 2: Tissue section of breast cancer. The long arrow points to a collection of variably-sized round & coccoid forms tightly packed around a cell nucleus. The larger round forms have the appearance of Russell bodies. Short arrows point to tiny coccoid forms resembling the size of ordinary staphylococci at the periphery of the cell. Intensified Kinyoun’s (acid-fast) stain; magnification x1000, in oil.

Tissue section of breast cancer

Fig. 3: Tissue section of breast cancer. Arrows point to a focus of tiny extracellular coccoid forms. Intensified Kinyoun’s (acid-fast) stain; magnification x1000, in oil.

Tissue section of breast cancer

Fig. 4: Tissue section of breast cancer. Arrows point to a small focus o extracellular coccoid forms scattered among the cancerous cells. Intensified Kinyoun’s (acid-fast) stain, magnification x1000, in oil.

tissue section of skin showing metastasis of breast cancer to the skin

Fig. 5 A, B: Black and white photo of tissue section of skin showing metastasis of breast cancer to the skin. Arrows point to intra and extracellular collections of coccoid forms in the dermis of the skin. Intensified Kinyoun’s (acid-fast) stain, magnification x1000, in oil.

Gram’s-stained smear of Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from metastasis of breast cancer to the skin

Fig. 6: Gram’s-stained smear of Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from the metastasis of the breast cancer to the skin, illustrated in fig. 5. The bacteria are Gram-variable; Some of the forms stain purple, the typical color of ”Gram-positive” staphylococci. Other cocci stain pink, suggesting poorly-staining, possible cell-wall-deficient forms of staphylococci.

Gram’s-stained smear of Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from metastasis of breast cancer to the skin

Fig. 7: Same culture as Fig. 6, but showing the appearance of the staphylococci when stained with the Ziehl-Neelson (acid-fast) stain. Note that the size and shape of the staphylococci are identical in size and shape to the small coccoid forms seen in the original breast tumor (Figures 1-4) and in the skin tumor metastasis (Figure 5). Magnification x1000, in oil.

Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from a metastatic skin lesion from breast cancer

Fig. 8: Ziehl-Neelson (acid-fast) stain of Staphylococcus epidermidis cultured from a metastatic skin lesion from breast cancer. Note the large dark-stained granules from which acid-fast (red and pink) thin, sharp ”spicules” emerge. In their 1970 paper [13], Livingston and Alexander-Jackson showed exactly the same type of acid-fast spicule growth in culture from the urine of a cancer patient (their Figure 12A). (Their research regarding "a specific type of organism cultivated from malignancy" was presented at the New York Academy of Sciences in November 1969.)

Radical treatment and the need for more bacteria research

The current lack of knowledge about the cause of breast cancer has resulted in the recommendation of some very expensive and death-defying treatments for this horrendous disease. Bone marrow transplants, which carry a 5% death rate, are being proposed as a routine treatment, at a minimal cost of $100,000 per patient.

As described in Karen Stabiner’s To Dance with the Devil: The New War on Breast Cancer (1997), the procedure is not pretty. [26]

First, a catheter is placed in a woman’s chest to deliver the drugs. A surgical treatment is then performed to scrape out bone marrow from her pelvis, followed by 7 days of growth hormone injections. Then starts days of intravenous chemotherapy that can cause kidney and bladder damage.

A catheter is placed in the bladder, followed by a round of intravenous BCNU, or carmustine, a drug that makes a woman feel like she is falling down drunk. Patients become sleepy, sullen, disoriented, agitated, and angry. Loss of bowel control and vomiting are common.

After all this, women are put into isolation because the white count drops precipitously, making her vulnerable to all sorts of infections. There may be inexplicable spiking fevers and rashes, and the inevitable loss of hair. After three weeks, patients are allowed to go home where they are told to watch for ”interstitial pneumonitis,” a potentially fatal aftereffect if not diagnosed and treated early.

Bone marrow transplant for breast cancer is not guaranteed, nor is it considered a cure. Women have been known to die of cancer three months after the procedure, proving that some patients do not respond to chemotherapy no matter how high the dose.

Even with radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, the cost of dying of cancer is not cheap. At the price patients are paying, physicians should not have the luxury of being ignorant about cancer microbe research, particularly when these microbes can be identified in cancer tumors.

With 40,000 American women dying annually from breast cancer, it is time medical science reevaluated the parasite of cancer that James Ewing so casually dismissed in 1919. Perhaps if he hadn’t been so adamant about cancer microbe research, his colleagues might have been able to do more to save him when he himself eventually died of bladder cancer.


1. Russell W. An address on a characteristic organism of cancer. Br Med J. 1890; 2:1356-1360.
2. Russell W. The parasite of cancer. Lancet. 1899;1:1138-1141.
3. Gaylord HR. The protozoon of cancer. Amer J Med Sci. 1901;121:501-539.
4. Ewing J: The parasitic theory. In, Ewing J (Ed): Neoplastic Diseases (Ed1). Saunders, Philadelphia, 1919, pp 114-126.
5. Nuzum JW: A critical study of an organism associated with a transplantable carcinoma of the white mouse. Surg Gynecol Obstet 33:167-175, 1921.
6. Nuzum JW: The experimental production of metastasizing carcinoma in the breast of the dog and primary epithelioma in man by repeated inoculation of a micrococcus isolated from human breast cancer. Surg Gynecol Obstet 11:343-352, 1925.
7. Young J: Description of an organism obtained from carcinomatous growths. Edinburgh Med J (New Series) 27:212-221,1921.
8. Young J: An address on a new outlook on cancer: Irritiation and infection. Brit Med J, Jan 10, 1925, pp 60-64.
9. Scott MJ: The parasitic origin of carcinoma. Northwest Med 24:162-166, 1925.
10. Scott MJ: More about the parasitic origin of malignant epithelial growths. Northwest Med 25:492-498, 1925.
11. Wuerthele Caspe (Livingston) V, Alexander-Jackson E, Anderson JA, et al: Cultural properties and pathogenicity of certain microorganisms obtained from various proliferative and neoplastic diseases. Amer J Med Sci 220:628-646, 1950.
12. Wuerthele-Caspe Livingston V, Alexander-Jackson E: An experimental biologic approach to the treatment of neoplastic disease. J Amer Med Women’s Assn 20:858-866, 1965.
13: Wuerthele-Caspe Livingston VW, Alexander-Jackson E. A specific type of organism cultivated from malignancy: bacteriology and proposed classification. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1970 Oct 30;174(2):636-54.
14. Wuerthele Caspe Livingston V, Livingston AM: Some cultural, immunological, and biochemical properties of Progenitor cyptocides. Trans NY Acad Sci 36(6):569-582, 1974.
15. Alexander-Jackson E: A specific type of microorganism isolated from animal and human cancer: Bacteriology of the organism. Growth 18:37-51, 1954.
16. Diller IC: Growth and morphologic variability of pleomorphic, intermittently acid-fast organisms isolated from mouse, rat, and human malignant tissues. Growth 26:181-209, 1962.
17. Seibert FB, Yeomans F, Baker JA, et al: Bacteria in tumors. Trans NY Acad Sci 34(6):504-533, 1972.
18. Wuerthele Caspe Livingston V: Cancer, A New Breakthrough. Nash Publishing Corp, Los Angeles, 1972.
19. Livingston-Wheeler VWC, Wheeler OW: The Microbiology of Cancer. Livingston Wheeler Medical Clinic Publication, San Diego, 1977.
20. Livingston-Wheeler VWC, Addeo EG: The Conquest of Cancer. Franklin-Watts, New York, 1984.
21. Cantwell AR Jr: The Cancer Microbe: The Hidden Killer in Cancer, AIDS, and Other Immune Diseases. Aries Rising Press, Los Angeles, 1990.
22. Hess DJ: Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science. New York University Press, New York, 1997.
23. Cantwell AR Jr, Kelso DW: Microbial findings in cancer of the breast and in their metastases to the skin. J Dermatol Surg Oncol 7:483-491, 1981.
24. Cantwell AR Jr: Histologic observations of variably acid-fast coccoid forms suggestive of cell wall deficient bacteria in Hodgkin’s disease. A report of four cases. Growth 45:168-187, 1981.
25. Cantwell AR Jr: Kaposi’s sarcoma and variably acid-fast bacteria in vivo in two homosexual men. Cutis 32:58-64,68, 1983.
26. Stabiner K: To Dance with the Devil: The New War on Breast Cancer. Delacourt Press, New York, 1997.


Dr. Alan Cantwell

Dr. Cantwell is a retired dermatologist, and an AIDS and cancer researcher. He is the author of “The Cancer Microbe”, “AIDS and the Doctors of Death” and “Four Women Against Cancer: Bacteria, Cancer & the Origin of Life” (all published by Aries Rising Press, Los Angeles).
Corresponding address: PO Box 29532, Los Angeles, CA 90029. He can be reached at alancantwell at

"Please note that Dr. Cantwell's work regarding cancer-associated bacteria is not related (in his view) to the research of Hulda Regehr Clark and her theories of cancer causation."

Addendum by Dr. Alan Cantwell

regarding a BBC News report of October 10, 2004, on the subject of “Antibiotic (doxycycline) can 'turn off cancer'” (see below):

“For more than a century a small group of researchers, including myself, have implicated bacteria in cancer (see my book, THE CANCER MICROBE, Aries Rising Press). Now it turns out that a common antibiotic — doxycycline — can turn off a gene in mice that leads to liver cancer.

Let's hope it doesn't take another century for scientists and physicians to follow up on this, and to explain why they keep ignoring cancer-causing bacteria. For more information on "cancer microbes" — [do an internet search] and type in those exact words.”

Antibiotic can 'turn off cancer'

adapted from BBC MMIV

Scientists have shown that a common antibiotic can turn off cancer cells in mice, offering hope of new treatments for cancer patients.

The antibiotic worked by turning off a gene called Myc, which is known to trigger cancer.

Mice remained cancer free for as long as they took the drug. When it was stopped they developed liver cancer, the Stanford University team found.

Cancer experts said the Nature study held promise for human cancer drugs.

Cancer switch

The findings might also apply to cancers of the breast, bowel and prostate, the researchers hope.

This is because all of these cancers, as well as liver cancer, begin in cells that line the body called epithelial cells.

According to Cancer Research UK, the gene may contribute to as many as one in seven cancer deaths.

”Drugs blocking Myc might be effective cancer treatments in the future.” Dr Elaine Vickers from Cancer Research UK

The Stanford scientists studied mice whose liver cells had been altered to carry a modified Myc gene known to cause cancer.

Myc controls cell division. Unlike the normal version of the gene, the modified version stayed permanently switched on, meaning cells were constantly dividing and some became cancerous.

Feeding the mice the antibiotic doxycyline turned the faulty Myc gene off so cancer growth was blocked.

When the researchers stopped the doxycycline the mice developed aggressive liver cancer.

Reintroducing doxycycline into their feed not only turned Myc back off, blocking further cancer growth, but it also turned the cancer cells back to normal.

Reversing cancer

Lead researcher Dr Dean Felsher said: "The exciting thing is you can turn cancer cells into something that appears to be normal."

But he said even though the cells looked normal, they still had the ability to become cancerous if the antibiotic were to be stopped.

This could explain why some cancers come back after people have had chemotherapy, he said.

"This is a terrible cancer. Anything that is encouraging in liver cancer may be important," he said.

Dr Elaine Vickers, science information officer for Cancer Research UK, said: "The Myc gene is known to be overactive in many types of cancer." Estimates suggest that the gene may contribute to as many as one in seven cancer deaths.

"This research is very interesting.

"It adds to the weight of evidence suggesting that drugs blocking Myc might be effective cancer treatments in the future."

Sponsored Links

Related section

Related content


Copyright © 2004-2023 and respective authors.
Unauthorized republishing of content is strictly forbidden. Each and every breach of copyright will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the disclaimer.