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Friday, January 15, 2010

Cancers Get Fuel from Stored Body Fat

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 9:29 PM Comments

Picture of an Obese Teenager (146kg/322lb) wit...Obese

Obesity has long been associated with different cancers. Those could be breast, ovary, pancreas and colon etc. The mechanism by which obesity helps in growth of cancer was much interest to the researchers. It was proposed that in fat cells steroid hormone is converted to estradiol a female hormone responsible for tumor formation. Now researchers from experiment on mice model postulate that fat fuels the cancer cells to grow.
Experiment on mice reveals that the body fat may actually fuel the cancer cells to proliferate, stabilize and migrate. The cell membrane is made up of fat and protein; that is why, cells require adequate amount of fat, protein and other micronutrients for their growth. Scientists have found that the tumor cells e.g. ductal cells of breast cancer have heightened fat degrading enzyme activity like monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) and fat synthetic enzymes like fatty acid synthetase and some others. The free fatty acids help in signaling of growth, proliferation and movement of cells through various composite molecules in combination. Fatty acids being rich source of energy provide energy required for the cell growth in addition to energy from glucose metabolism.
Researchers when blocked the enzyme MAGL, there was growth retardation of the cancer cells. Feeding fatty diet accelerated the growth of the tumor cells. Elevated levels of fatty acid synthetase (FAS), the enzyme responsible for fatty acid biosynthesis are correlated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients, and inhibition of FAS results in decreased cell proliferation, loss of cell viability, and decreased tumor growth. It may help tumor growth through biosynthesis of an array of protumorigenic lipid-signaling molecules and generation of building blocks for newly synthesized membranes to accommodate high rates of proliferation.
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