Understanding the link between cancer and metabolism

24 Jul 2015

How much does diet affect the cancer patient? Do "antioxidants" really play an important role in health or are they causing more cancers than they cure? And what exactly is the relationship between obesity and cancer?

The latest Special Issue in “E-cancer Medical Science” collects four original articles from experts in cancer and metabolism, addressing the most important areas of research in this rapidly developing field.

Poorly understood the link between cancer and obesity

The relationship between cancer and metabolism was overlooked for decades as metabolism has long been typecast as an uninteresting research subject. However, the past five years have seen an incredible surge of interest.

Take the relationship between cancer and obesity, for example. As Guest Editor of this Special Issue, Dr Luca Mazzarella of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy explains, the molecular mechanisms underlying the links between cancer and obesity have not been properly studied and are poorly understood, leading to mixed messages.

"As the scientific community is insecure on what messages it should deliver, administrators are uncertain as to what exactly to recommend, and consumers are confused about whom to believe," he explains.

Antioxidants in cancer

 Antioxidants are another area where the juggernaut of popular belief has outpaced the scientific understanding of their role in cancer. Dr Marco Giorgio of the European Institute of Oncology prepared an expert review on the "unfulfilled promise" of antioxidants in cancer.

"In 2013, researcher Jim Watson wrote in Open Biology that antioxidant supplementation 'may have caused more cancers than they have prevented,'" Giorgio writes. Clearly, there is a disconnect between research frontiers and dietary marketing - Giorgio explains the role of oxidative stress in cancer metabolism to clarify the issue.

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Absence of scientific evidence on the relation of food with breast cancer

"Many beliefs about food and breast cancer persist in the absence of supporting scientific evidence," writes Dr Krizia Ferrini of the European Institute of Oncology, author of an article connecting the dots between lifestyle, nutrition and breast cancer.

"Despite current awareness on the role of nutrition on cancer outcomes, there is inadequate translation from research findings into clinical practice."

Biomarkers and cancer prognosis

The fourth article in the Special Issue addresses the important topic of biomarkers. Researchers led by Dr Cecilia Bosco of King's College London, UK examined the data produced by the Swedish Apolipoprotein Mortality Risk study (AMORIS) to look for metabolic serum biomarkers, which may be used for the prediction of cancer.

This collection of articles spans the breadth of current understanding in cancer metabolism. It is our hope that healthcare professionals will be able to use the information in this special issue to inform their own best practice.

Source: Medical News Today
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