Study: How Obesity May Trigger Certain Breast Cancers

AICR’s expert report and its updates have found that excess body fat increases the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  As scientists are learning, how excess body fat plays a role in breast cancer varies by cancer type.

In a study published last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists looked at the role excess body fat plays in the development of two types of triple-negative breast cancers. These types of breast tumors don’t respond to hormones and growth factors that typically fuel less aggressive types of breast cancer.

One of the changes that occurs in these two types of breast cancers is EMT, or epithelial mesenchymal transition. EMT signals early development of cancer in epithelial cells, the cells that line the breasts and other organs. It is recognized as a feature of many aggressive tumors. Continue reading

Increasing Stress May Up Cancer Risk: Motivation to Move

Stressed out about your stress levels? Sometimes it’s a vicious cycle. Deadlines, bills, global warming…it seems there is a laundry list of things to feel stressed about.

The bad news: Now there’s evidence that stress can increase your risk of cancer.

In a study published in the April 16 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice that were restrained (a huge stressor) and then exposed to radiation developed more tumors than unrestrained mice that were exposed to radiation. The researchers found that a class of hormones called glucocorticoids was elevated in the restrained (stressed) mice. Glucocorticoids suppress  p53—a key protein that plays an important role in the prevention of tumors.

Here’s the abstract for the study.

The good news: There’s a “drug” for stress—exercise! Continue reading

Quercetin: Hidden Treasure in Your Latkes

One of my favorite winter dishes is featured in Holiday Recipes from AICR’s Test Kitchen: Low Fat Latkes.

When served with applesauce, the three key ingredients in this dish—potatoes, onions, and apples—each contain large quantities of a phytochemical called quercetin. 

Quercetin is classified as a flavonoid.  Lab studies suggest quercetin may offer protection from many chronic diseases such as cancer.

In a well-cited 1997 study, scientists gave volunteers apples and onions and then measured the amount of quercetin in their blood and urine. The nine volunteers ate apples, had their urine/blood checked and then five days later repeated the process with the onions. Continue reading