A high intake of phosphates may promote tumor development and contribute to tumor growth in skin cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine. They also added that restricting phosphate intake may help prevent cancer.
In the study, the researchers applied dimethylbenzanthracene, a carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, to the skins of mice, followed by another chemical that stimulates cell growth.
Feeding these mice a high phosphate diet (1.2 percent by weight) increased skin papilloma number by 50 percent compared with a low phosphate diet (0.2 percent).
Skin papillomas are the initial stage of skin cancer development, which may progress to full carcinoma.
"This is a very well established model for the initiation and progression of cancer, and the effects of many physiological conditions on cancer initiation have been measured this way," said senior author George Beck, assistant professor of medicine (endocrinology) and a member of the Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University.
The study has been published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.