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Jan 04, 2016 11:02 AM EST

Sugar increases risk of breast, lung cancer risk, study finds

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A new animal study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that table sugar may increase the risk of breast cancer, Fox news reports.

For the present study, the researchers studied the role of sugar in mammary gland tumor development.

The study was published Friday in Cancer Research.

"This was due, in part, to increased expression of 12-LOX and a related fatty acid called 12-HETE," Peiying Yang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of palliative, rehabilitation, and integrative medicine at MD Anderson, said in a press release.

"Prior research has examined the role of sugar, especially glucose, and energy-based metabolic pathways in cancer development," said Yang, according to News Medical.

"However, the inflammatory cascade may be an alternative route of studying sugar-driven carcinogenesis that warrants further study."

The study found that mice that took sucrose that was comparable to the levels of sucrose in Western diets were at a greater risk to develop tumor growth and metastasis, compared to mice on a non-starch sugar diet.

The results of the study revealed that 30 percent of mice on a starch-control diet developed tumors, while 60 to 58 percent of mice on sucrose-enriched diets developed mammary tumors. The mice on sucrose diet were also at a higher risk of cancer spreading to their lungs, as compared to the mice on starch controlled diet.

According to CTV News, the research team said that sugar increases the enzyme known as 12-LOX and the fatty acid known as 12-HETE in breast cancer cells, which could both result in the growth and spread of breast cancer.

The results also found that fructose was responsible for increasing 12-HETE production in breast tumors and resulting in the spread of the disease to the lungs.

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