Fat Feeds Breast Cancer Cells, but Exercise May Help Fight Disease, According to Animal Study

Fat Feeds Breast Cancer Cells, but Exercise May Help Fight Disease, According to Animal Study
Researchers have revealed in an animal study that although body fat can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells, this can be counteracted by exercise. The link between obesity and breast cancer has been suspected for years, and it has been a growing concern. A research team at York University in Canada, led by Professor Michael Connor,  has shown that diet determines the tumor microenvironment by affecting hormonal balance. The study, “Voluntary physical activity abolishes the proliferative tumor growth microenvironment created by adipose tissue in animals fed a high fat diet,” was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Adipose tissue (body fat) stores energy and regulates metabolism and hormone balance. Normally, fat cells produce more than 400 hormones, known as adipokines, which are released into the blood stream. Among the most-produced hormones by adipose tissue are adiponectin (ADIPO) and leptin (LEP). In obese people the balance between these two hormones changes. ADIPO decreases and LEP increases in the circulation, creating a microenvironment that promotes tumor growth. "Our research has found that the characteristics of hormones produced by fat cells in obese people can promote breast cancer growth, whereas in lean people it prevents growth," Connor said. "The characteristics of those hormones differ depending on whether the person is lean or obese, and that determines whether the cancer grows or not." The team fed rodents a high-fat diet, then removed their adipose tissue to a petri dish, where it promoted the growth of ca
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