Fructose, a type of sugar, may be blamed for fueling the growth of cancer, finds a new research. The research paper published in the journal Cancer Research has shown a possible mechanism as to how it works.
People who consume more sugar are at an increased risk to suffer from cancer, especially breast cancer. Study researcher Lorenzo Cohen of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center said, “A lot of patients are told it doesn't matter what you eat after you are diagnosed with cancer. This preliminary animal research suggests that it does matter”.
The research adds to growing evidence that a Western-style diet is a major risk factor for many types of cancer. As per previous studies, at least two-thirds of all cancer cases are owing to lifestyle choices like tobacco use, an unhealthful diet and a lack of exercise.
Refined sugar is one of the culprits. Since ‘sugar’ is a very broadly used term as there are many sugars that are healthy and have vital nutrients. Our body uses a form of sugar called glucose to generate energy.
In the current research, fructose was especially found to affect a metabolic process called 12-LOX, which helps cells spread. Cohen said that majority of cancer patients do not die because of the primary tumor, but because of the metastatic disease.
In the study, the researchers have used mice for the study. They fed mice sugar in doses in the same manner as Americans eat every day and they used mice that are genetically predisposed to breast cancer in the same way many people are.
Mice were fed four different diets that were either rich in starch or heavy in different types of sugar. The researchers found that the more sugar was fed to mice, the bigger tumors were. Cohen said that when mice got more fructose, they grew larger tumors and faster.
According to a report from the Today, tests in mice show a possible mechanism for how it happens. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Research, support studies that suggest people who consume more sugar have a higher risk of cancer— especially breast cancer.
"A lot of patients are told it doesn't matter what you eat after you are diagnosed with cancer. This preliminary animal research suggests that it does matter," said Lorenzo Cohen of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who worked on the study.
Between 50 and 58 percent of mice on a sucrose-enriched diet developed mammary tumors by the time they were six months old, but just 30 percent of mice on a starch-control diet had measurable tumors at the same age. There were also more lung metastases among mice fed diets higher in fructose or sucrose than in those given a starch-control diet, the researchers reported. Cohen said data from the study suggests either form of sugar induced 12-LOX and 12-HETE production in breast tumor cells, causing tumors to grow. He said, however, further research is needed to find whether sugar has a direct or indirect effect on tumor growth, told the UPI.
The ScienceWorldReport notes that, drink one can of soda (Coke, let's say), and you've already passed your limit; there are close to 10 teaspoons of sugar in some 12-ounce cans of soda (or 40 grams).
At six months of age, 30 percent of mice on a starch-control diet had measurable tumors, whereas 50 to 58 percent of the mice on sucrose-enriched diets had developed mammary tumors. The study also showed that numbers of lung metastases were significantly higher in mice on a sucrose- or a fructose-enriched diet, versus mice on a starch-control diet.