Sugar and Cancer – What’s the Link?

Sugar and Cancer – What’s the Link?

Cancer, which is still the most deadly ailment and the one of the major cause of deaths throughout the world stand second to heart disease and have concentrated the focus of medical researchers since a long time now. Medical researchers aim to find the least painful treatments for the cure of cancers.

One such research happened in an academic institution of the USA where medical scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have found that some types of cancers are heavily dependent on sugar supply for its progression.

Read the whole study here.

The lead scientist in the research Dr. Jung-whan “Jay” Kim, assistant professor of biological sciences and senior author of the study, explaining the findings of the study said that ” “It has been suspected that many cancer cells are heavily dependent on sugar as their energy supply, but it turns out that one specific type -; squamous cell carcinoma -; is remarkably more dependent,”

Sugar and Cancer - What's the Link?

Since one-quarter of all the lungs cancers are caused by squamous cell carcinoma, which is difficult to treat with targeted therapies, the study intended to study the differences in metabolism between two major subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC).

The findings of the study concluded that one type of protein responsible for transporting the glucose to the cell was found in astoundingly high level in lung affected by SqCC than in the lungs affected by the ADC.

The protein named Glucose Transporter 1 or GLU 1 transports sugar to the cells in the affected areas. The sugar thus supplies the cells which energy and fuels the metabolism of the cells.

Kim further added that prior to this study it was assumed that both kinds of cells might be having the similar metabolic structure and signature but the study has shown opposite results.

He also commented that the finding of the study have given enough support to the idea that cancer is not just one disease but a mixture of disease with varying characteristics.

The researcher further investigated the human lung tissue with the isolated lung cancer cell and also examined the animal models of the disease. Further investigation gave more evidence of high sugar presence in the Sqcc than in ADC.

Thus the implications of the study show that the progression of the SqCC type cancer was heavily dependent upon the sugar supplies the ADC type of cancer was much less dependent on sugar.

RELATED: Consuming too much Sugar may Interfere with your Central Nervous System

The research also investigated the effect of the introduction of the glucose inhibitor in the isolated lung cancer and mice with both types of non-small lung cancer it was shown the tumor did not eradicate completely but the tumor did show slow growth in Sqcc type.

Kim further added that “Taken in total, our findings indicate that GLUT1 could be a potential target for new lines of drug therapy, especially for the squamous subtype of cancer.”

Apart from this, the team also found that GLU 1 was also present in high concentration in other four other types of squamous cell cancer: head and neck, esophageal and cervical.

Though they all are different organs and tissues in the body they do share one common feature of high sugar consumption. According to Kim, the next step in this research would be to find the answer to why this happens.

Sugar and Cancer - What's the Link?

The study has indeed grave implication since; sugars make up for the high level of people’s diet these days. From canned juices to sweets and breakfast items, sugar is the necessary component.

Apart from diabetes, people must also now bear in mind that high consumption of sugars may heighten the risk of some cancers.


Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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