According to a recent study, sugar known as glucose can boost the rate at which cancer cells are growing and developing. The findings, which appeared Friday in the journal Nature Communications, could help find a new course of action when battling cancer.
Study authors first researched the link between sugar and cancer in 2008 in a bid to better understand the previously-documented “Warburg effect,” a phenomenon not seen in normal cells in which cancerous cells obtain energy from fermented sugar. The energy is next used to fuel the growth of cancerous tumors.
Lead author Johan Thevelein explained that the association between cancer growth and sugar intake can lead to “sweeping consequences”. The recent findings could provide a foundation to future cancer research.
Researchers, however, acknowledged that they did not find a cause-and-effect link between cancer and sugar. And they weren’t able either to prove that a no-sugar diet could prove beneficial in cancer treatment. Thevelein called for more research to find out whether sugar is the primary cause for cancer growth.
Findings Met with Criticism
Victoria Stevens from the American Cancer Society commented on the findings. She noted that the latest study focused only on one byproduct resulted from the process of breaking down glucose to produce energy. So, more research needs to be one.
Stevens added that the Warburg Effect could cause cancer and even fuel its growth but the research did not offer absolute proof that sugar can boost cancer growth.
The study was carried out by researchers from three institutions: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussel, Belgium, and Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie in Flanders, Belgium. The research was sponsored by the Flemish government.
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