Losing weight could help prevent tumor growth in women

July 18, 2016 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management, Women's Health

Losing weight could help prevent tumor growth in women

Overweight or obese women who lost weight through diet or a combination of diet and exercise also significantly lowered levels of proteins in the blood that help certain tumors grow, according to a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The study, a randomized controlled trial, measured three proteins known to enhance tumor-related angiogenesis – the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors and enable them to grow. The researchers wanted see how these cancer-promoting proteins changed when overweight, sedentary, postmenopausal women lost weight through diet or diet and exercise over the course of a year.

The 439 otherwise healthy women as assigned to one of four groups: 1) calorie- and fat-restricted diet, 2) aerobic exercise five days a week, 3) combined diet and exercise, or 4) no intervention (control group).

The researchers found that women in the diet group and the diet + exercise group lost more weight and had significantly lower levels of angiogenesis-related proteins, compared with women in the exercise-only group and the control group.

It is known that being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle are associated with increased risk for developing certain cancers, but the reasons for this relationship are not clear.

These findings indicate that weight loss may be a safe and effective way to improve the "angiogenic profile" of healthy individuals, meaning they would have lower blood levels of cancer-promoting proteins. Although the researchers cannot say for certain that this would impact the growth of tumors, they believe there could be an association between reduced protein levels and a less favorable environment for tumor growth.

Source: Cancer Research, July 2016.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.