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Western high-fat diet may make prostate cancer aggressive

Eating a typical high-fat western diet, such as cheeseburgers and French fries, could make prostate cancer more aggressive and cause it to spread, a study finds.

The result opens the door to a new treatment for the condition that is usually an "indolent" or slow-growing, low-risk disease.

"The progression of cancer to the metastatic stage represents a fundamental event that influences the patient's outcomes and the therapeutic options available to patients," said Pier Paolo Pandolfi, Director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston . [19659003] "Our data provide a solid genetic basis for the mechanisms underlying metastatic progression, and we also demonstrate how environmental factors can drive these mechanisms to promote progression from primary to advanced metastatic cancer," Pandolfi added.

For the studies, published in the journals Nature Genetics and Nature Communications, when the team increased the levels of saturated fats – the type found in hamburgers and fast-food fries – in the diet of animals, mice developed aggressive metastatic tumors.

The findings showed that about 20 percent of metastatic prostate cancers lack two tumor suppressor genes, PML and PTEN, which are known to play a major role in

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