In a new study reinforcing the growing link between sugar and cancer, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that fructose may increase the spread and growth of breast tumors, as well as metastasis in the lungs. This is especially troubling for those in the west, writes UPI, as fructose can be found naturally in fruits and in processed products like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which are so commonly ingested among western culture.
“The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved,” said Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of palliative, rehabilitation, and integrative medicine at MD Anderson, in a press release. “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”
The team of researchers used mice to come to their conclusion, assigning each randomly to one of four diet groups – which individually contained different amounts of sucrose and fructose – and observing them closely. Their results showed that 50 to 58 percent of mice that were fed sucrose-enriched diets developed mammary tumours after six months.
Comparatively, only 30 percent of mice that had been given a starch-control diet had detectable tumours in the same time span. Additionally, they found that the mice consuming high levels of sucrose or fructose developed more lung metastases, meaning the cancerous cells had spread from their initial location in the body.
The data demonstrates that both sugars stimulated 12-LOX and 12-HETE production in breast tumor cells, according to Dr. Cohen, which caused the tumors to increase in size. But as always, further research needs to be done before it can be determined if the relationship is direct or indirect.
“Prior research has examined the role of sugar, especially glucose, and energy-based metabolic pathways in cancer development,” said Dr. Peiying Yang, an assistant professor of palliative, rehabilitation, and integrative medicine at MD Anderson, according to Medical Daily. “However, the inflammatory cascade may be an alternative route of studying sugar-driven carcinogenesis that warrants further study.”
The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.