Washington: A new study has revealed that elevated fat and cholesterol levels found in a typical American-style diet plays an important role in the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center demonstrate how mice eating a Western diet, and predisposed to develop prostate cancer, can develop larger tumors that are faster growing and metastasize more easily to the lungs, compared to animals eating a control diet.
“Our hypothesis is that environmental factors, most likely present in the diet, may act as late stage promoters, responsible for the transformation of a prostate tumor from an early stage form into a more aggressive and clinically-apparent form,” said Philippe G. Frank, study’s lead author.
Frank and his colleagues turned to the TRAMP transgenic mouse model to determine the role of dietary fat and cholesterol. This mouse model is believed to closely parallel the pathogenesis of human prostate cancer.
TRAMP mice were placed on a diet that contained 21.2 percent fat and 0.2 percent cholesterol, reflective of a typical Western diet. A control group of TRAMP mice was fed a normal chow that had 4.5 percent fat and negligible amounts of cholesterol.
They found that the Western diet accelerated prostate tumor development and progression. These tumors also produced increased levels of receptors that bind to lipoproteins carriers of cholesterol, and they were more aggressive.
The researchers further discovered that the TRAMP mice fed a Western diet appeared to experience greater incidence of cancer metastasis to the lungs, compared to the control group.
The research team also noted that TRAMP mice fed the high fat/high cholesterol chow had less cholesterol in their blood compared to control mice fed the same diet.
The study is published in the December issue of The American Journal of Pathology.