From the many news reports on the recent pancreatic cancer study, it’s enough to make one drop that soda can in fear. Although it’s probably a good idea to put the soda down, the stories on a study linking fructose to pancreatic cancer cell growth are overly alarming.
Here are the study basics: UCLA researchers added glucose to one set of pancreatic cancer cells and fructose to another set of cells. Fructose and glucose are both simple sugars. Previous research has shown that cancer cells metabolize sugar at faster rates than healthy cells and the scientists in this study were looking at the different actions of the two sugars.
After letting all the cells sit, the study found that both sugars led to increased cancer cell growth but the cancer cells metabolized the sugars in two different ways. In the case of fructose, the pancreatic cancer cells used the sugar to generate nucleic acids, the building blocks of RNA and DNA, which the cancer cells need to divide and proliferate. When metabolizing glucose, the cancer cells generated far more lactate and carbon dioxide, as well as fatty acids, which play a role in cancer growth.
Glucose and fructose both increased cancer cell growth at similar rates.
The study was published in Cancer Research and you can read about it here.
The findings are interesting but more research is needed before it can be used to make recommendations on public health. This is one study, and it is a cell study. Also, what this study did show is that both sugars increased cancer cell growth.