Updated: Feb 15, 2020
In a recent study conducted at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, sugar has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer and metastasis (the spread of cancer) to the lungs. The study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development and metastasis in mice.
Researchers tested mice that were administered a sucrose intake similar to the Western diet, and they found the mice developed an increased risk for tumor growth and metastasis compared to mice on a non-sugar diet. Researchers found that 60 percent of the mice on sucrose-enriched diets developed mammary tumors.
Further, scientists discovered that the mice on the sugar-based diet were more likely to have cancer spread to their lungs than any other area. This suggests that high amounts of dietary sugar in the typical Western diet may result in a higher risk for tumor growth and metastasis in humans.
The sugar connection
This study revealed dietary sugar’s effect on an enzymatic signaling pathway known as 12-LOX (12-lipoxygenase). Researchers determined that the cancerous tumors were brought on by increased levels of 12-LOX and a related fatty acid called 12-HETE. They concluded that it was specifically fructose, found in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup and present in many foods Americans consume regularly, that was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.
Evaluate your sugar intake
This study serves as a reminder to reexamine our daily diet to evaluate our regular sugar intake. Use natural sugars, such as agave nectar and honey, in moderation and avoid processed sugars like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. If you have been recently diagnosed with breast, lung, or another form of cancer, call the oncologists at The START Center for Cancer Care today at 210-745-6841 to schedule your next appointment.