Intestinal Cancer from Sugary Soft Drinks?

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 03 April 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
thumbnail image: Intestinal Cancer from Sugary Soft Drinks?

Fructose was long regarded as a natural and healthy sweetness. Today it is known that fructose, which is widely used by the food industry in the form of corn syrup, is particularly easy converted into fat, promotes overweight, is considered the main cause of the rapid increase in obesity and metabolic diseases, and can damage the heart. And Marcus Goncalves, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA, and colleagues have shown in mice that there is a direct molecular mechanism between fructose consumption and colon cancer.

The researchers gave mice with a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer a 55:45 fructose-glucose solution once a day (equivalent to the sweetener used in most soft drinks). Transferred to humans, the amount corresponds to one can of lemonade per day. The mice remained of normal weight throughout the experiment. 

After two months, the researchers checked the condition of the colon of all animals. The mice did not have more intestinal tumors than control animals without sugar consumption, but the tumors were significantly larger and more aggressive.
From the mixture of fructose and glucose typical for corn syrup, both sugars accumulate strongly in the large intestine and are absorbed by the tumors. In cancer cells, an enzyme called ketohexokinase (KHK) converts fructose into fructose-1-phosphate. This molecule promotes tumor growth in two ways: (i) It facilitates the use of glucose by tumor cells as an energy source. (ii) It promotes the synthesis of fatty acids. Cancer cells need fatty acid synthesis to form cell membranes, generate and store energy, and for intracellular communication. If the researchers deactivated one of the two fructose pathways through gene blockades, tumor growth failed to occur.

Whether corn syrup and correspondingly sweetened lemonades also have this tumor-promoting effect in humans still has to be tested. The researchers believe that this is very likely.


 

Article Views: 703

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. more


CONNECT:

ChemistryViews.org on Facebook

ChemistryViews.org on Twitter ChemistryViews.org on YouTube ChemistryViews.org on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter


A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH