Don from Primal Wisdom discusses some of the effects of phytates on the body including potentially cancer prevention.
According to researchers from Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, phytates appear to have anticancer effects by binding excess minerals in tissues, depriving tumors of essential minerals.[4 pdf]
Vucenik and Shamsuddin discuss the anticancer properties of phytate in detail; all information and quotes remaining in this post come from their report in the Journal of Nutrition.[5 full text]
Almost all mammalian cells contain phytate in the inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) form and others with smaller numbers of phosphate groups (IP1-5). When we ingest dietary phytate, intracellular levels of IP6 increase, and from this cells increase the levels of the other forms, which appear involved in “cellular signal transduction, regulation of cell function, growth, and differentiation.”
Dietary phytate enters the blood stream and reaches tissues, including tumors, far from the gut.
Tumor cells take up phytate, probably by pinocytosis or receptor-mediated endocytosis.
Phytate inhibits malignant growth in human leukemic, colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer cells.