As research continues to show, the connection between cancer and obesity continues to be proven. However, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston believe they may have found an answer in stymieing the process of cancer growing in people overweight.
The answer comes in CXCL1, a signaling molecule that regulates cell trafficking. This is what researchers believe is causing all the trouble. When activated, this molecule attracts cells from fat to the tumor. Furthermore, the cells they attract — adipose stromal cells (ASC) — support tumor-nourishing blood vessels. As a result, the tumor is fed and continues to become more malignant.
So the question is what happens when you block CXCL1 from the tumor? That’s what the researchers sought out to find. The researchers primarily focused on prostate cancer. They originally tested their theory on mice with favorable results. In this test, they actually saw the progression of the tumor decrease when the molecule was blocked, so they decided to then move on to see what the molecule levels were in humans.
What they found was CXCL1 was higher in the overweight patient when compared to a patient that wasn’t overweight. This means that the overweight patient has a higher chance of a tumor developing and increasing as compared to a person who isn’t overweight. Researchers are calling this mechanism an “on/off switch” and believe that it can play a key role in cancer treatment, particularly those that are overweight.
“As the prevalence of obesity is rising, insights into the mechanisms underlying its link with cancer aggressiveness are urgently needed to develop new strategies for reducing prostate cancer morbidity and mortality,” the study authors concluded.
Hopefully this new finding will lead to favorable prevention of one of the most dangerous diseases we know: Cancer.