Possible Mechanisms through which Dietary Lipids, Calorie Restriction, and Exercise Modulate Breast Cancer

  • Gabriel Fernandes
  • Jaya T. Venkatraman
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 322)


Though the exact cause of breast cancer still remains a mystery, years of investigations have suggested that several dietary and endocrine-related factors may induce and/or could modulate the growth of breast cancer. Epidemiologic and experimental evidence have indicated a close association between high-fat diets and increased incidence of breast cancer.1–3 Furthermore, several immunologic functions, including the levels of growth factors, cytokines, and sex steroid hormones, may be altered or regulated by dietary lipids.4,5 Excessive fat in the diet has been reported to enhance the growth of both spontaneously occurring and chemically induced colon and mammary tumors, as well as accelerated growth of transplantable carcinomas.6–8 Diets containing high levels of ω-6 fatty acids derived from vegetable fats appear to enhance tumorigenesis, while ω-3-containing lipids, either from vegetable or marine origin, or low levels of fat in the diet can diminish tumorigenesis. Recently, a number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the modulation of mammary tumorigenesis in experimental animals by increasing the levels of dietary fats.9,10 Initiation and promotion have been linked to immune suppression,11 prostaglandin production,12,13 free radical formation,14 membrane fluidity changes,15 intracellular transport system modulation,16 increased caloric utilization,17 increased mammotrophic hormone secretion,18 and cytokine changes.19,20 Over-expression of oncogenes and certain growth factors are other mechanisms that have been linked to dietary changes that may influence mammary tumori-genesis.


Breast Cancer Mammary Tumor Human Breast Cancer Cell Natl Cancer Inst Dietary Lipid 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Fernandes
    • 1
  • Jaya T. Venkatraman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA

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