Increased Dietary Sucrose and Breast Cancer Risk

Increased Dietary Sucrose and Breast Cancer Risk

Take-Home Message:

Sucrose is the scientific term for sugar. A sucrose-rich diet is associated with increased presence and growth of breast tumors in mice. There may be an association in humans.



Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part Through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway

Authors: Jiang Y, Pan Y, Rhea P, et al.

Source: Cancer Res. 2016;79:24-29.

The enzymes 12-LOX and 12-HETE belong to a family of enzymes that are known to promote tumor growth in laboratory animals and humans. They are found at higher levels among people who consume sucrose than among those who do not. In order to investigate the relationship between sucrose and breast cancer, the group used 3 mouse models: normal breast tissue, triple-negative breast cancer, and breast cancer with a propensity for metastasis to the lung. Each group was further categorized by dietary supplements of progressively increasing sucrose: 0g/kg, 125g/kg, 250g/kg, and 500g/kg.

Six months into the study, among the unaltered mice, subjects with no added sucrose had fewer breast tumors than the mice that received sucrose (30% vs 50%, 58%, and 50%, respectively). Results were similar in the triple-negative breast cancer and lung metastasis groups. Among the last group of animals, higher sucrose consumption was associated with heavier primary tumors and greater number of lung metastases.

The group concluded that sucrose-enriched diets shorten the onset and increase the proliferation of breast tumors in laboratory mice, and that such diets are also linked to increased risk of pulmonary metastasis. The study contributes to the knowledge about links between dietary sugar and breast cancer, and supports further investigation into enzymatic pathways that appear to contribute to the disease.