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article imageDiet can influence colon cancer risk

By Tim Sandle     Mar 7, 2016 in Health
Types of diet, especially those with a high fat content, may have a connection with increasing the risk of different types of cancer. A new study draws a new connection in relation to colon cancer.
The new research indicates how a high-fat diet can trigger the cells of the intestinal lining to become cancerous. This is based on an animal study. Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer, or bowel cancer) is the development of cancer in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine).
For the study, the researchers fed healthy mice a diet made up of 60 percent fat for nine to 12 months. The diet, it should be noted, was of a far higher fat content than someone would typically consume (this might be somewhere between 20 to 40 percent fat.)
It was measured that the mice on the high-fat diet gained 30 to 50 percent more body mass compared with control mice fed a normal diet. Over time, the mice on high fat diets developed far more intestinal tumors. At the same time, the high-fat diet mice underwent ket changes in their intestinal stem cells.
The mouse model, conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, revealed that diet rich in fats leads to an increase in the production of intestinal stem cells (as found in the epithelium.) At the same time, a second wave of cells (progenitor cells), which behave in a similar way to stem cells, were produced. These stem cell-like cells have an association with becoming cancerous.
Specifically it was found that in the high-fat diet mice the cells were produced in abundance and they lived longer than it the norm. This led to the finding that the association with fats triggers a biochemical change that results in the stem cells becoming “tumorigenic.”
The findings may help with the understanding as to why obesity leads to an increase in cancer in many tissues. This could lead to a new generation of cancer drug targets, as well as providing a new warning about obesity.
The research team was led by Professor Omer Yilmaz. The findings are published in the journal Nature, in a paper headed “High-fat diet enhances stemness and tumorigenicity of intestinal progenitors.”
More about diet and cancer, Colon cancer, Diet, Obesity
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