High fat diet and obesity promote the progression of prostate cancer by amplifying the activity of the cancer genes. A new study found that metabolites from high-fat diet collaborate with the cancer-driving gene MYC to reprogram prostate cancer cells into growing faster. This discovery shows the direct link between obesity and prostate cancer. A study carried out to clarify the relationship between prostate cancer and obesity revealed that:
- Fat increases the activity of the cancer-driving gene known as MYC.
- Tumors feed on the body’s resources including energy and oxygen, vitamins and nutrients and the vital space as they grow to cause lethal damage.
- Having a high-fat diet provides cancer cells with more resources they need. Obesity and high-fat diet increase the risk for advanced and lethal prostate cancer, especially in African American men.
To have a better understanding of how a high-fat diet and obesity promote the progression of cancer, a study was conducted. Every cell in the body has the same DNA, but not all genes are expressed at all times. Epigenetics is a process that programs cells to express some genes and not others. It regulates the structure of DNA to prevent or allow access to genes for expression. That’s why there are cells with distinct and specialized functions like skin cells, immune cells, brain cells, etc. Epigenetics is important in cancer; they reprogram cancer cells to express genes that allow continued growth and survival instead of sticking to the controlled growth program of the normal cells.
- Epigenetics is involved in the link between prostate cancer and obesity.
- There’s a link between epigenetics and metabolism, where metabolites are important ingredients that are required for epigenetic reprogramming.
The findings give more insight on how obesity and fatty diet increase the lethal prostate cancer risk. It is important for prostate cancer patients to maintain a healthy weight through exercise and nutrition.