Common food compound asparagine linked to cancer spread

Fish are just one of the foods that are rich in the amino acid asparagine

Fish are just one of the foods that are rich in the amino acid asparagine

Scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute showed blocking its production with a drug called L-asparaginase in mice, and putting them on a low-asparagine diet, greatly reduced the breast cancer's ability to spread. Among other techniques, the team used dietary restrictions to limit asparagine.

"Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests diet can influence the course of the disease", said one of the first authors of the study, Simon Knott.

"This is potentially a big deal", Hannon told AFP of the study findings, while stressing that much more research is needed.

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

The place where a cancer starts in the body is called the primary cancer or primary site, according to Cancer Research UK. Those cells colonize in the lungs, brain and liver, where they proliferate.

Breast cancer cell photographed by an electron scanning microscope.

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A cancerous cell must go through huge changes in order to spread - it must learn to break off the main tumour, survive in the bloodstream and thrive elsewhere in the body.

It is found in the foodies' favourite asparagus, as well as poultry, seafood and many other foods.

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. That trial likely would employ dietary restrictions as well as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Knott said. The animals had triple-negative breast cancer, which grows and spreads faster than other types and is notoriously hard to treat. 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.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Reference Simon R.V. Knott, Elvin Wagenblast, Showkhin Khan, Sun Y. Kim, Mar Soto, Michel Wagner, Marc-Olivier Turgeon, Lisa Fish, Nicolas Erard, Annika L. Gable, Ashley R. Maceli, Steffen Dickopf, Evangelia K. Papachristou, Clive S. D'Santos, Lisa A. Carey, John E. Wilkinson, J. Chuck Harrell, Charles M. Perou, Hani Goodarzi, George Poulogiannis, Gregory J. Hannon.

Earlier if patients were detected with metastatic cancer, it signified that they were at the last stage in life.

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