When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a researcher, or just someone who wants to learn more about cancer prevention, we’re here to help.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

June 15, 2012 | 3 minute read

Study: How Obesity May Trigger Certain Breast Cancers

AICR’s expert report and its updates have found that excess body fat increases the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  As scientists are learning, how excess body fat plays a role in breast cancer varies by cancer type.

In a study published last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists looked at the role excess body fat plays in the development of two types of triple-negative breast cancers. These types of breast tumors don’t respond to hormones and growth factors that typically fuel less aggressive types of breast cancer.

One of the changes that occurs in these two types of breast cancers is EMT, or epithelial mesenchymal transition. EMT signals early development of cancer in epithelial cells, the cells that line the breasts and other organs. It is recognized as a feature of many aggressive tumors.

Epithelial cells typically have a “top” and a “bottom.”  The bottom is anchored to what is referred to as a basement membrane to keep it in place for normal functioning. Mesenchymal cells, on the other hand, tend to be more mobile, invasive, and resistant to programmed cell death.

Several proteins, enzymes, and microRNAs can initiate the transition from an epithelial to a mesenchymal type cell, which can then migrate to other sites in the body.  Cancer cells undergoing EMT can invade nearby tissues and are often resistant to chemotherapies.

In the study, researchers divided mice into three groups and fed them a high calorie diet, a low calorie diet, or a control diet to see what effect caloric intake had on the development of EMT.  After eight weeks on the diets, the mice fed the high calorie diet became obese and the mice fed the calorie-restricted diet became thin. The mice were then exposed to cancer cells.

Six weeks later, researchers monitored the mice for tumor development.  They discovered that caloric intake impacted the progression of these two aggressive types of breast cancer.  Compared to the control group, tumors were more developed in the obese mice and smaller in the slender mice. In addition, several cancer-promoting factors such as hormones, growth factors, and proteins that trigger inflammation were more abundant in breast cancer tumors in the obese mice but not the thin mice.

Their findings suggested that diet-induced obesity creates an environment that is conducive to EMT but calorie restriction discourages it.

Nearly one third of women living in the US are overweight or obese. To learn more about the role that obesity plays in cancer risk, visit here.

Teresa L. Johnson, MSPH, RD, is a nutrition and health communications consultant with a long-time interest in the intersection of nutrition, exercise, and wellness.

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