Aug 2 (Reuters) – Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.
Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.
They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.
“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.
“They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”
Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.
How large amounts?
U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
What is to be done?
“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets,” Heaney said in a statement.
And meanwhile we can stop eating foods with HFCS. That’s already having an effect, as major food vendors such as ConAgra Foods have started removing HFCS from foods such as Hunt’s Ketchup.
Here’s the actual scientific article, Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth, by Haibo Liu, Danshan Huang, David L. McArthur, Laszlo G. Boros, Nicholas Nissen, and Anthony P. Heaney, in Cancer Research, Published OnlineFirst July 20, 2010; doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4615, Cancer Res, August 1, 2010, 70; 6368.
While ConAgra doesn’t care:
“Our focus is on consumer preference, not the science.”If we who eat the food do care and refuse to eat foods with HFCS, ConAgra does care about that, and it and other food companies will respond.