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High Levels Of Dietary Cholesterol Speed The Onset And Spread Of Breast Cancer Tumors

January 6, 2011: 02:51 PM EST

A study in mice by U.S. researchers has concluded that the elevated fat and cholesterol levels found in the typical American-style diet play a significant role in the onset and spread of breast cancer. Tumors developed quickly in mouse models of breast cancer (PyMT mice) that were fed a diet containing 21.2 percent fat and 0.2 percent cholesterol. The number of tumors was nearly twice that of the control group that was fed normal chow. In addition, the tumors were 50 percent larger than those observed in mice that ate a normal diet. “These data provide new evidence for an increased utilization of cholesterol by tumors and for its role in tumor formation,” the researchers concluded. High levels of blood cholesterol not only accelerate development of tumors, they also “exacerbate their aggressiveness.”

Philippe G. Frank, Ph.D., et al., "Role of Cholesterol in the Development and Progression of Breast Cancer", The American Journal of Pathology, January 06, 2011, © Elsevier Inc.
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