Chopping out asparagus might cease breast most cancers spreading

08 February, 2018, 13:20 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Discovery in understanding the spread of breast cancer could lead to new treatments to slow metastasis

Only past year, the University of Glasgow's research showed that removing the amino acids, serine and glycine, resulted in the slowed progression of lymphoma and intestinal cancers.

Amino acids are used by cells to make proteins.

Scientists have uncovered a key mechanism that facilitates the spread of breast cancer cells, and thus a potential target for new therapeutic approaches in the fight against the disease.

An amino acid found in a variety of foods including asparagus has been linked to the spread of breast cancer.

It means breast cancer patients may be advised to try an extreme diet of certain fruit and vegetables - or asparagine-lowering drugs - on top of traditional treatments in an effort to prevent the disease from metastasizing.

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When scientists reduced asparagine in animals with breast cancer, they found that the number of secondary tumours in other tissues fell dramatically.

Beef is one of many foods containing an amino acid that may promote the spread of breast cancer
Beef is one of many foods containing an amino acid that may promote the spread of breast cancer

Asparagine appears to help cancer cells change into a form that easily spreads from the breast, through the bloodstream, to other organs where they grow into secondary tumours, Hannon said.

"This finding adds vital information to our understanding of how we can stop cancer spreading - the main reason patients die from their disease".

Perhaps further research will show if the connection between asparaginase and cancer will make these treatments more effective in the future.

"This study may have implications not only for breast cancer, but for many metastatic cancers", he said.

Dr George Poulogiannis, Dr Michel Wagner and PhD student Marc Olivier Turgeon worked on the research that took place at the ICR. ER-positive breast cancer, diagnosed in two-thirds of breast cancer patients, is fueled by the presence of estrogen in the body.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: "This early discovery could offer a long-awaited new way to help stop breast cancer spreading - but we first need to understand the true role of this nutrient in patients".

"It's important for patients to speak to their doctor before making any changes to their diet while having treatment".

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