Thursday, 6 April 2017

Breast Cancer Risks And Weight:

Inflamed Breast Fat Linked To Cancer In Women With Healthy BMI

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

According to Iyengar, this research “increases our awareness of a potentially vulnerable population. An alarming number of people may be at risk."
For the study, the team looked at breast tissue from 72 women with healthy BMIs who were undergoing mastectomies. Looking at their breast tissue, they noted that 39 percent of the women had signs of inflammation in their breast fat tissue. This inflammation is caused when enlarged or sick fat cells called adipocytes are destroyed by white blood cells called macrophages. This immune response to the dying fat cells causes an inflammatory reaction, which contributes to cancer risk. Inflammation caused by breast cells is is associated with elevated levels of the enzyme aromatase, which can help encourage the growth of hormone-sensitive breast tumors.
However, it is still not clear why healthy weight women develop this fat inflammation, a trait normally associated with overweight women.
"We don't currently know the precise reasons," Iyengar added, "but it will be important to examine diet and activity levels to see if any patterns emerge and to ultimately develop effective cancer prevention and treatment strategies."
The team hope that better understanding the cause of this inflammation and its consequences may lead to better breast cancer detection and prevention. For example, they note that one day, a non-invasive test that recognizes this fat inflammation in women could be used to identify patients in greatest need of intervention.
However, obesity does play a role in cancer: Recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center noted a critical link between obesity and cancer risk after finding that aggressive breast cancer cells grew faster in obese tissue. This finding may explain why obesity and cancer are so closely linked, and also suggested that weight loss could be an effective way to lower individual cancer risk.
Source: Iyengar NM, Brown KA, Zhou XI, et al. Metabolic Obesity, Adipose Inflammation and Elevated Breast Aromatase in Women with Normal Body Mass Index. Cancer Prevention Research . 2017

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