Earlier studies on human have proved that a linkexists
between high fat diet, obesity and an increased risk of developingpancreatic
cancer, but the mechanism that leads to this development was notproperly
Guido Eibl, who
worksas an associate professor of surgery at UCLA's David Geffen
School and hiscolleagues
carried out experiments to test the hypothesis that diet has a linkto cancer.
They selected mice
witha mutation in the KRAS (a gene that predisposes them to develop
pancreaticpre-cancer) and fed one group with low fat diet and another group
with highcalorie and high fat corn oil based food.
It was observed that
90 percent of the mice thatwere fed with the special high fat diet became
obese, developed insulinresistance, inflammations and precancerous lesions in
the pancreatic cells, incomparison to the mutated mice fed on normal diet. All
these were prerequisitesfor the development of cancer.
showed that in mice, a diet high in fat and calories led to obesity andmetabolic
disturbances such as insulin resistance thatare seen in obese humans",
states Guido Eibl..
Eibl also says,
"the high-fat, high-calorie diet acceleratedpancreatic cancer development.
A KRAS mutation in the pancreas might not be sufficientto cause an individual
to develop pancreatic cancer. It likely needs somethingin addition - a
secondary hit. Our study showed that a high-fat, high-caloriediet could provide
an environmental secondary hit and trigger cancerdevelopment."
It must be noted
thatthe mutated version of KRAS is involved in the development of pancreatic
cancerin humans as well. A low fat, low calorie diet maywell prevent the
development of pancreatic cancer and several other types ofcancer.
The results of this study were presented at theAmerican
Association for Cancer Research`s conference `Pancreatic Cancer:Progress and
Challenges` organized on June 18-21.
Pancreas is an organ
that is situatedbehind the stomach at the back of the abdomen. It contains both
the exocrineand the endocrine glands. The endocrine cells are found in clusters
and areknown as the islet of Langerhans. These cells release insulin and play a
veryimportant role in controlling blood sugar levels. When the islets of
langerhansdo not function properly, it results in diabetes.
Cancer of the
pancreas occurs when thepancreatic cells divide uncontrollably and give rise to
tumors. Tumors thataffect the exocrine glands in the pancreas are the most
common and are known asadenocarcinomas.
There are several
factorsthat increase one's risk for pancreatic cancer. They include a person's
familyhistory, lifestyle trends and habits.