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High dietary fat, cholesterol linked to increased risk of breast cancer
Date:1/6/2011

cent fat and negligible amounts of cholesterol.

The researchers found that tumors began to develop quickly in mice fed the fat/cholesterol-enriched chow. In this group, the number of tumors was almost doubled, and they were 50 percent larger than those observed in mice that ate a normal diet. "The consumption of a Western diet resulted in accelerated tumor onset and increased tumor incidences, multiplicity, and burden, suggesting an important role for dietary cholesterol in tumor formation," Dr. Frank says. There was also a trend towards an increased number of lung metastasis in mice fed the fatty diet, he adds.

To confirm the aggressive nature of the cancer in animals fed a cholesterol-rich diet, the researchers examined the levels of several biomarkers of tumor progression and found a signature of a more advanced cancer stage, compared to tumors that developed in the control group.

The researchers also showed that plasma cholesterol levels in experimental mice that developed tumors were significantly reduced compared to a group of "wild-type" mice animals with no predisposition to develop tumors that was also fed a cholesterol-rich diet. "This suggests that tumor formation was responsible for the reduction in blood cholesterol levels observed in our animals," indicates Dr. Frank.

Dr. Frank explains the use of cholesterol in breast tumors this way: "In a neighborhood, if you want to build more houses, you need more bricks. In tumors, cholesterol provides the bricks that are the foundation for further growth, and this cholesterol comes from the blood. A drop in blood cholesterol may signify that some tumors are growing as cholesterol provides support for breast cancer growth."

"These data provide new evidence for an increase in cholesterol utilization by breast tumors and thus provides many new avenues for prevention, screening, and treatment," indicates Dr. Frank. These findings suggest that use of cholesterol-lowering
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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