A high-fat diet in pregnancy may increase the risk of breast cancer from generation to generation, a new study has revealed.
Feeding pregnant female mice a high-fat diet derived from regular corn oil leads to a genetic change that substantially increases the susceptibility of breast cancer in three generations of female offspring, according to research published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research on Monday.
“It is believed that environmental factors and lifestyles, such as diet, play an important role in increasing the risk of human breast cancer, so we use animal models to reveal the biological mechanisms responsible for the increased risk in women and their female offspring,” senior author Leena Hilakivi -Clarke, professor of oncology at Georgetown University, said.
The new study shows a number of genetic changes in the first and third generation of mice fed high-fat foods during pregnancy, including some of the genes associated with women with an increased risk of breast cancer, increased resistance to cancer treatment, a poor prognosis of cancer and anti-immune disorders cancer.
In the new study, the amount of fat fed to experimental mice matches what every human can eat every day. But experimental mice and control mice ate the same amount of calories and weighed the same.
The experimental mice get 40 percent energy from fat, and control mice get a normal diet that gives 18 percent energy from fat. A typical human diet now consists of 33 percent fat, according to the study.
“Research has shown that pregnant women consume more fat than non-pregnant women, and the increase occurs between the first and second trimesters,” says Hilakivi-Clarke.
“Of the 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2012, 90 percent have no known cause,” he said, adding “Putting this fact, and our findings together give us food to think about.”
Source: Yahoo News