Study in mice shows dietary saturated fats can trigger liver cancer
Japanese researchers showed for the first time processes that are crucial targets for treating liver cancer are enhanced by saturated fatty acid diets.
Researchers from Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, using experiments involving transgenic mice, have successfully shown that dietary saturated/trans fats, but not cholesterol, can trigger hepatic angiogenesis and lymph-angiogenesis, leading to the promotion of hepatic tumours,thus liver cancer.
The study published in Liver Cancer, found that angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) and lymph-angiogenesis (formation of new lymphatic vessels, ie. neovasculogenesis), are key determinants for the survival, proliferation, and metastasis of cancer cells.
The researchers then monitored the degree of hepatic angiogenesis and lymph-angiogenesis, and growth factor expression using a variety of techniques including quantitative mRNA measurement, immunoblot analysis, and immunohistochemistry.
Incidentally, vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C), fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors 2 and 3, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1α are important biomolecules involved in cell communication and growth signalling. JNK-HIF1α-VEGF-C axis and FGFs are thus powerful drivers of hepatic neovasculogenesis.
He continued: “We demonstrated for the first time that hepatic angiogenesis and lymph-angiogenesis were enhanced by SFA or TFA diets, but not cholesterol-rich diets, mainly through the JNK-HIF1α-VEGF-C axis. These processes are crucial targets for treating hepatocellular carcinoma.”