Sugar in Diet Could Be Linked to Breast Cancer

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(Photo: Flickr/Lee Coursey)

Not so sweet news from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

A new study shows that the sugar intake typical of a western diet may increase the risk of breast cancer and the incidence of metastasis on the lung. The study compared the effect that a high sucrose diet had on mice in relation to those fed a low-sugar starch diet. Those fed a high sugar diet were at a much higher risk of developing tumors.

According to, Peiying Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine said, "We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumor growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet. This was due, in part, to increased expression of 12-LOX and a related fatty acid called 12-HETE.”

There were four groups of mice, randomly fed different diets. Of the group that was fed the high sucrose diet 50-58 percent of mice developed mammary tumors at six months. Only 30 percent of the starch-controlled group developed tumors.


There was also a difference in the rate at which the tumors metastasized to the lungs. The mice fed fructose or sucrose were much more likely to develop lung metastases.

It might be time to make a low-sugar diet a New Years resolution.