Scientists find way to reduce breast cancer spread

Scientists find way to reduce breast cancer spread

Scientists find way to reduce breast cancer spread

Reducing the amount of asparagine in the mice reduced the spread of cancer but had no impact on the development of their primary tumour, the journal Nature reports. The discovery by British and U.S. scientists could pave the way to new treatments based on suppressing the molecule. The animals had triple-negative breast cancer, which grows and spreads faster than other types and is notoriously hard to treat.

If the findings hold in humans, breast cancer patients may be put on low asparagine diets while they have conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy, for the disease.

Researchers have discovered that an amino acid called asparagine is essential for breast cancer spread, and by restricting it, cancer cells stopped invading other parts of the body in mice.

Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, stated: "Interestlingly, the drug L-asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is dependent on asparagine".

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

She said: "We don't recommend patients totally exclude any specific food group from their diet without speaking to their doctors". Perhaps further research will show if the connection between asparaginase and cancer will make these treatments more effective in the future.

However, there are no food or dietary supplements that will act as "magic bullets" to prevent breast cancer from returning. Most deaths from the condition are caused by secondary tumours.

As per the study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in May 2017, the five year comparative survival rate for patients with metastatic breast cancer magnified between 1992 to 1994 and 2005 to 2012, increasing from 18 percent to 36 percent. In several other cancer types, increased asparagine levels were associated with reduced survival.

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The charity's head nurse Martin Ledwick said: "Research like this is crucial to help develop better treatments for breast cancer patients".

But fear not asparagus lovers, these findings still need to be confirmed in people and asparagine is hard to avoid in the diet anyway.

Breast cancer patients could be encouraged to cut asparagus and other foods from their diets in the future to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, scientists say.

The researchers cautioned it was too early to jump to conclusions about asparagine's role in human cancers, or to advise dietary changes.

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Researchers were prompted by these mouse studies to examine data from breast cancer patients.

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