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Pancreatic Cancer Cells Found To Thrive On Fructose

August 1, 2010: 09:06 AM EST
The common sugar fructose, a staple in the Western diet, activates a key cellular pathway that drives pancreatic cancer cell division and helps the cancer grow more quickly, a U.S. study has found. Fructose comes mainly from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), one of the main caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages, especially soft drinks. For the study, researchers cultured malignant pancreatic cells in dishes, adding glucose to some and fructose to others. Using mass spectrometry, they tracked the sugars’ use by the cells, finding that metabolism of glucose and fructose was very different. The cancer cells easily used the fructose to generate nucleic acids needed to divide and proliferate. According to the researchers, the “findings have major significance for cancer patients, given dietary refined fructose consumption.”
Haibo Liu, Danshan Huang, David L. McArthur, Laszlo G. Boros, Nicholas Nissen, and Anthony P. Heaney, "Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth", Cancer Research, August 01, 2010, © American Association for Cancer Research
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