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October 3, 2013

2 Min Read
High-Fat, High-Calorie Diet Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

LOS ANGELESEating a high-fat, high-calorie diet may lead to the development of pancreatic cancer, according to researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC).

Two sets of genetically engineered model mice that had the same genetic mutation found in human pancreatic cancer patients were examined during the study. It made the study more feasible due to the changes in mouse metabolism caused by obesity and that one of humans.

A set of mice consumed a normal diet gaining approximately 7.2 grams of weight plus or minus approximately 2.8 grams over a 14-month period. Those that ate a high-fat, high-calorie diet gained on average 15.9 grams, plus or minus 3.2 grams. The mice fed a normal diet had mostly normal pancreases with few scattered pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanIN) lesions, but those who at the high-fat, high-calorie diet had significantly more PanIN lesions and fewer overall healthy pancreases. 

The study showed that the high-fat, high-calorie diet cause a significant increase in weight, metabolism abnormalities and increased insulin levels. In addition, pancreatic tissue inflammation was present and development of PanIn lesions. PanIn lesions are known to be precursors to pancreas cancer.

"The development of these lesions in mice is very similar to what happens in humans," Dr. Guido. Eibl, lead author of the study said. These lesions take a long time to develop into cancer, so there is enough time for cancer preventive strategies, such as changing to a lower fat, lower calorie diet, to have a positive effect."

A previous study demonstrated that a diet high in dietary fats from red meat and dairy products was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but consuming non-starchy vegetables has been shown to have a probable decreased risk in pancreatic cancers.


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