The link between obesity, inflammation and cancer has been well established

Tuesday, 06/04/2010  |   Breast Cancer, Herb or Compound, Prostate Cancer  |  no comments

The link between obesity, inflammation and cancer has been well established. A new paper on bitter melon, a common food that has shown blood sugar regulating function has indicated it has anticancer action. I also include an older article on obesity and cancer.
Obesity is a growing health problem in developed nations and in countries that are in the process of westernisation like India. Obesity is linked with several health disorders such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and certain cancers. Currently, obesity-related malignancies, e.g., cancers of the breast, prostate and colon are the leading cancers in the industrialized societies. An increased amount of fat or adipose tissue in an overweight or obese person probably influences the development of cancer by releasing several hormone-like factors or adipokines. The majority of adipokines are pro-inflammatory, which promote pathological conditions like insulin resistance and cancer. On the other hand, many recent studies have shown that adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory adipokine, has anti-cancer and insulin-sensitizing effects. Adiponectin exerts its physiological functions chiefly by activation of AMP kinase via adiponectin receptors. Interestingly, several fruits and vegetables may contain adiponectin-like molecules or may increase the biosynthesis of adiponectin in our body. Studies on adiponectin analogues or adiponectin receptor agonists are a promising area of cancer chemoprevention research. In general, fruits and vegetables contain various dietary substances such as vitamins, minerals (like calcium and selenium), fiber and phytochemicals or phenolic compounds (like flavonoids and vanilloids), which may act as anti-cancer agents. Similarly, several dietary constituents including phytochemicals may have anti-obesity effects. Consumption of such dietary compounds along with caloric restriction and physical activity may be helpful in preventing obesity-related cancers.
Murthy, N. S., Mukherjee, S., G Ray, G. & Ray, A. Dietary factors and cancer chemoprevention: An overview of obesity-related malignancies. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine. 2009 Volume 55. Issue 1, Pp.45-54. DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.43549

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. Although there are effective drugs for treating advanced stages of breast cancers, women eventually develop resistance. One of the approaches to control breast cancer is prevention through diet, which inhibits one or more neoplastic events and reduces cancer risk. In this study, we have used human breast cancer cells, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, and primary human mammary epithelial cells as an in vitro model to assess the efficacy of bitter melon (Momordica charantia) extract (BME) as an anticancer agent. BME treatment of breast cancer cells resulted in a significant decrease in cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death. Apoptosis of breast cancer cells was accompanied by increased poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and caspase activation. Subsequent studies showed that BME treatment of breast cancer cells inhibited survivin and claspin expression. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis suggested that MCF-7 cells treated with BME accumulated during the G2-M phase of the cell cycle. Further studies revealed that BME treatment enhanced p53, p21, and pChk1/2 and inhibited cyclin B1 and cyclin D1 expression, suggesting an additional mechanism involving cell cycle regulation. Together, these results show that BME modulates signal transduction pathways for inhibition of breast cancer cell growth and can be used as a dietary supplement for prevention of breast cancer.
Ray, R. B., Raychoudhuri, A., Steele, R. & Nerurkar, P. Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Extract Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation by Modulating Cell Cycle Regulatory Genes and Promotes Apoptosis. Cancer Research 70, 1925, March 1, 2010. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3438

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