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Pancreatic Cancer Linked to High-Calorie Diet

Oct. 9, 2013|567 views
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Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest—and most feared—of cancers. While many cancers are now highly treatable, having succumbed to advances in technology, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is still, essentially, a death sentence.


We know that a significant number of cancer cases can be attributed to dietary factors. People who eat lots of red meat, for instance, at at slightly increased risk of developing certain cancers. Last year, a large study concluded that for each three-ounce portion of red meat consumed every day, a person’s risk of death from cancer rises by 10%, even after controlling for other factors, such as inactivity or obesity. Processed meats pose even more of a threat.


Now scientists have shown that a high-fat, high-calorie diet encourages the development of pancreas cancer in a mouse model of the disease. This conclusion dovetails with similar research, which has previously shown that poor-quality diets encourage the development of pancreatic inflammation and eventually pancreatic cancer. Conversely, diets rich in antioxidants and fiber, and low in fat, are considered protective. 


In the present study, two groups of mice received different diets. One got 40% of daily calories from fats; the other just 12%. Mice in the high-calorie/high-fat diet group developed high blood sugar, high insulin levels, and obesity, just like humans who are becoming diabetic. They also developed inflammatory lesions in their pancreases. These lesions are known to precede the development of full-blown pancreatic cancer.


Dawson DW, Hertzer K, Moro A, Donald G, Chang HH, Go VL, et al. High Fat, High Calorie Diet Promotes Early Pancreatic Neoplasia in the Conditional KrasG12D Mouse Model. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print]


Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, Schulze MB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al. Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Apr 9;172(7):555-63. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287. Epub 2012 Mar 12.


Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 23;169(6):562-71. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.6.


Tags:  chronic illness, obesity, cancer risks