Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have suggested that high-fat diet and cholesterol-rich food plays a crucial role in breast cancer growth. As per the study published in The American Journal of Pathology, there is a clear link between breast cancer and diet.
Using a mouse model the researchers conducted an experiment. The mice who fed on the American-style diet showed development of larger mammary tumors as compared to the mice who consumed controlled diet.
Dr. Philippe G. Frank remarks that the incident rate of this cancer is 5 times higher in Western countries than in other developed countries. Plus, an increase in breast cancer cases has also been reported in immigrant population thereby hinting at the role of environmental influence on breast cancer development.
The researchers resorted to PyMT mouse model that is supposed to be similar to the pathogenesis of human breast cancer. PyMT mice were provided a typical Western diet with 21.2 percent fat and 0.2 percent cholesterol while another control group of PyMT mice was fed on a diet with barely 4.5 percent fat and negligible cholesterol.
Results showed that the mice who were fed fat and cholesterol rich diet reported quick development of tumors and the size of the tumors were also 50 percent larger. Results also suggested that the growth of tumors reduced the level of blood cholesterol.
These findings may help the medical experts in prevention, screening and treatment of breast cancers. Since growth of tumors has been linked to a significant drop in blood cholesterol, hence measuring cholesterol levels may also be a reliable screening method.
Incidentally, the same research team had earlier found a link between cholesterol and prostate cancer. Thus, it can be concluded that cholesterol, indeed, is a vital factor in the formation and growth of cancerous tumors.