From Sugar to Cancer

By Richard Liang ’18

Sugar consumption may be a contributing factor to cancer metastasis.

Sugar has been a widely used household item for centuries. However, a recent study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center indicates that this simple condiment can lead to increased cancer metastasis, the spreading of cancer cells to other parts of the body.

The experiment focused on feeding mice two separate diets, one predominantly composed of starches and another primarily comprised of sugars. The mice used for the experiment were genetically predisposed to breast cancer, thus allowing the researchers to imitate the genetic markers naturally occurring in some human beings. The amount of sugar given to the mice was comparable to the average amount consumed in an American diet.

The results of the experiment showed that roughly 30% of the mice restricted to starch-dominant diets developed breast cancer while 50-58% of the mice on a sugar-dominant diet developed malignant breast tumors, revealing that sugar consumption increased the growth of breast cancer. After further analysis, researchers identified fructose, one of the components of table sugar, as a facilitator of breast inflammation and breast cancer development. High consumption of fructose increased the propensity for cancer metastasis. Further research on this issue can lead to more preventative measures against the proliferation of cancer.



  1. Image acquired from:
  2. Williams, This Common Dietary Ingredient May Increase Breast Cancer and Lung Metastasis Risk. The Motley Fool (2016)

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