Monday, February 26, 2018
Studies show that high fat diets may be linked to higher chances of prostate cancer metastasis
An article done by the New York Times explains how a diet of high fatty substances may increase not just the growth of prostate cancer, but also speed up the metastasis process. This has to do with the loss of a particular gene. In a test done with lab mice, when this gene is stripped from the cancer, the prostate develops fat cells and releases them throughout the body, causing harmful effects. This does not, however, indicate that prostate cancers that have NOT lost this gene do not metastasize. If a readily source of fat is present in the body from certain diets, the cancer can also spread. Cory Abate-Shen, the interim director at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Colombia University analyzes the results of the experiment that “high-fat diets promote a more aggressive prostate cancer”. This study comes as a shock to geneticists, who understood that this type of cancer usually starts when PTEN (phosphate and tensin homolog), a protective gene, either fails/shuts down. This however rarely promotes spreading of the cancer cells, and remains mostly affecting the prostate. Another gene, PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) however, causes the cancer cells to spread and more than likely being lethal. These cells in a new study have seem to produce fat, which in return helps the cancer spread quicker. The correlation between a fatty diet and the loss of PML gene was found again in lab mice, with the mice that had lacked the PML gene and were fed a high fatty diet had a much higher metastasis rate than those that were fed a low-fat vegetarian diet. This raises questions such as if high sugar diets (which also cause obesity), correlate to higher risk of prostate cancer metastasis. Prostate cancer is the second highest diagnosed cancer in men with 165,000 American’s being diagnosed each year, with 29,500 fatalities per year. In order to combat and lower one’s risk of prostate cancer, diet and exercise must be maintained. Pharmacologic medications (such as anti-obesity medications) also may be of assistance, for example Metformin (Glucophage), Bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave), and Phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia & Mysimba).
I found this article to be very informative and interesting. For someone that has prostate cancer in their family history, the article can be very helpful in justifying on what types of diets you should be avoiding and what types of diets you should be ingesting. These studies however, leave a lot of question unanswered as explained in the article summary. More tests on certain types of diets need to be performed in order to see if high fat or obesity truly does cause a higher risk in prostate cancer metastasis.
(Link to article)