Western Diet’s Sugar Reliance Increases Breast Cancer Risk

High levels of sugar typical of Western diets increase the risk for breast cancer tumors and metastasis to the lungs, according to a new study in mice.

Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found fructose — in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and used in a high percentage of food items — encouraged breast tumor growth, and helped it spread.

Previous research has linked dietary sugar to several types of cancer, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, and other studies have shown a connection between sugar and inflammation that can lead to cancer development.

“The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved,” Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of palliative, rehabilitation, and integrative medicine at MD Anderson, said in a press release. “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”

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