A new study carried out by researchers from the University of Texas' MD Anderson Center revealed the role of sugar in the development of cancer.
Based on their findings, diets high in sugar or fructose will not only cause breast cancer to grow, but these can also spread the effects of the disease, Today reported.
To test this notion, the researchers fed lab mice food items containing sugar. They discovered that about 50 to 58 percent of those that ate a high-fructose developed cancer. On other hand, around 30 percent of the mice that only ate low-fructose foods got the disease.
But, as the researchers carried on with the study, they learned that the conditions of the mice with cancer that continued eating sugary diets got worse. They then realize that aside from promoting the growth of cancer tumors, sugar can also cause it to spread to other parts of the body.
According to the researchers, this is because fructose can directly affect a natural metabolic process known as 12-LOX, which is also responsible for how cancer spreads or metastasizes.
"The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved," researcher Dr. Lorenzon Cohen said in a statement.
"We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors," he added
It is already known that sugar can lead to the development of cancer. But, this is the first time that a study has shown how fructose can worsen the condition of the disease. It was previously believed that when a person gets cancer due to sugar, eating more of this carbohydrate will not affect the status of the disease.
"Prior research has examined the role of sugar, especially glucose, and energy-based metabolic pathways in cancer development," Dr. Peiying Yang, the co-author of the study said in a press release. "However, the inflammatory cascade may be an alternative route of studying sugar-driven carcinogenesis that warrants further study.
As noted by Inquistr, the findings of the research team is particularly alarming since Western diet heavily contains sugar. Although some items that are rich in fructose such as candy, chocolate, and soft drinks can be easily avoided, it may be hard to determine other foods that are also high in sugar.
The study conducted by the researchers was published in the journal Cancer Research.