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Offspring of female rats given folic acid supplements develop more breast cancer
Date:2/11/2011

nt rats.

Both the rats whose mothers took folic acid supplements and those who ate a folic acid supplemented diet had a twofold increase in rates of mammary tumours than the control groups. They also had more tumors and faster-growing tumors.

The folic acid supplements given to pregnant rats seemed to have a more profound tumour-producing effect than the supplements given to infant rats, suggesting that folic acid has more impact on a developing fetus than babies, Kim said.

Folate helps to make DNA and help it replicate. Kim said the folic acid supplements appear to decrease DNA methylation how genes are turned on and off and this likely plays a role in promoting tumors.

Previous studies have shown that folic acid supplements taken before conception can either increase or decrease certain pediatric cancers in offspring. Some of these small, observational studies have linked folic acid to a decrease in neuroblastomas, leukemia and some brain tumours, but others have shown an increase in brain tumours. Kim presented research last year showing maternal folic acid supplements decreased colon cancer in offspring by about 65 per cent.

"This means the impact of folic acid supplements may be organ-specific," Kim said. "It may decrease some cancers but promote others."


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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