Earlier studies on human have proved that a link
exists between high fat diet, obesity and an increased risk of developing
pancreatic cancer, but the mechanism that leads to this development was not
Guido Eibl, who works
as an associate professor of surgery at UCLA's David Geffen School and his
colleagues carried out experiments to test the hypothesis that diet has a link
They selected mice with
a mutation in the KRAS (a gene that predisposes them to develop pancreatic
pre-cancer) and fed one group with low fat diet and another group with high
calorie and high fat corn oil based food.
It was observed that 90 percent of the mice that
were fed with the special high fat diet became obese, developed insulin
resistance, inflammations and precancerous lesions in the pancreatic cells, in
comparison to the mutated mice fed on normal diet. All these were prerequisites
for the development of cancer.
results showed that in mice, a diet high in fat and calories led to obesity and
metabolic disturbances such as insulin resistance thatare seen in obese humans", states Guido Eibl..
Eibl also says, "the high-fat, high-calorie diet accelerated
pancreatic cancer development. A KRAS mutation in the pancreas might not be sufficient
to cause an individual to develop pancreatic cancer. It likely needs something
in addition - a secondary hit. Our study showed that a high-fat, high-calorie
diet could provide an environmental secondary hit and trigger cancer
It must be noted that
the mutated version of KRAS is involved in the development of pancreatic cancer
in humans as well. A low fat, low calorie diet may
well prevent the development of pancreatic cancer and several other types of
The results of this study were presented at the
American Association for Cancer Research`s conference `Pancreatic Cancer:
Progress and Challenges` organized on June 18-21.
Pancreas is an organ that is situated
behind the stomach at the back of the abdomen. It contains both the exocrine
and the endocrine glands. The endocrine cells are found in clusters and are
known as the islet of Langerhans. These cells release insulin and play a very
important role in controlling blood sugar levels. When the islets of langerhans
do not function properly, it results in diabetes.
Cancer of the pancreas occurs when the
pancreatic cells divide uncontrollably and give rise to tumors. Tumors that
affect the exocrine glands in the pancreas are the most common and are known as
There are several factors
that increase one's risk for pancreatic cancer. They include a person's family
history, lifestyle trends and habits.