High-fat diet found to cause prostate cancer to spread, according to new research

Being obese and following a high-fat diet make for a deadly combination that may increase the risk of prostate cancer metastasis, according to a set of studies published in the journals Nature Genetics and Nature Communications. A team of researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) examined mice models of prostate cancer as part of the study.

The researchers found that mice models that lacked the tumor suppressor genes PTEN and PML developed metastasis. Likewise, the experts observed that the absence of both genes appeared to stimulate fat production in the animals, which in turn facilitated the spread of cancer cells. The researchers further analyzed the animals’ dietary pattern and found that increased levels of saturated fats led to the onset of aggressive, metastatic tumors.

However, the scientists also touted that an anti-obesity molecule known as “fatostatin” may hold potential in mitigating the risk of fat-induced metastasis. The experts tested the molecule on the animal models and observed that the molecule showed significant efficacy in blocking lipogenesis. The research team also noted that the anti-obesity molecule spurred tumors’ regression and prevented metastasis.

“The progression of cancer to the metastatic stage represents a pivotal event that influences patient outcomes and the therapeutic options available to patients. Our data provide a strong genetic foundation for the mechanisms underlying metastatic progression, and we also demonstrated how environmental factors can boost these mechanisms to promote progression from primary to advanced metastatic cancer,” senior author Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi told Science Daily online.

Another study links saturated fat intake to prostate cancer onset

Another study published in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases demonstrated a negative correlation between saturated fat consumption and prostate cancer. A team of health experts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pooled data from the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project as part of the study. The project had a cohort population of 1,854 men with newly-diagnosed prostate cancer, 17 percent of whom had highly aggressive cancers. (Related: There is a link between saturated fat and aggressive prostate cancer.)

The results showed that patients with the highest saturated fat intake were up to 51 percent more likely to develop highly aggressive cancer compared with those who had the lowest consumption. Likewise, high cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of aggressive cancer, especially among whites.

In addition, the research team found that patients with more aggressive prostate cancer had higher daily calorie and cholesterol intake. These patients also had a higher percentage of calories from fat in their diets, the scientists explained. Furthermore, the experts revealed that men with more aggressive cancer ate more saturated fats and less polyunsaturated fats compared with patients with less aggressive cancer.

“A diet high in saturated fat contributes to high blood cholesterol levels. [People] can cut down on the amount of saturated fat in their diets by choosing lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products, and by cooking with plant-based oils. Controlling dietary saturated fat content may be important not only for cardiovascular disease prevention and overall health, but also for aggressive prostate cancer prevention,” lead author Emma Allott said in a Fox News article.

“There are a number of things that men can do to reduce their risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer. [These include] not smoking, having a normal body weight, high physical activity, and high intake of tomatoes and dark meat fish (e.g., tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines), and low intake of processed meat,” said researcher Stacey Kenfield.

For more stories regarding the big “C”, visit Cancer.news.

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