- There is a link between prostate cancer and fatty acids
- fatty acids are taken up into prostate cancer cells and increase tumour growth
- There is a strong link between obesity, diet and poor outcomes in men who develop prostate cancer
Scientists in Melbourne have proved hat there is a link between prostate cancer and fatty acids. The researchers found that fatty acids are taken up into prostate cancer cells and increase tumour growth. They then blocked the uptake of fatty acid by genetically deleting the key fatty acid transporter and showed that they could slow the cancer’s development.
Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in men, accounting for 15 per cent of male cancer diagnoses and 8 per cent of all cancer cases. More than 17 700 estimated new cases were diagnosed in 2018 in Australia.
Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) Deputy Director of Cancer Program Renea Taylor and University of Melbourne Physiology Department Head Matthew Watt co-led a research program investigating cancer metabolism, looking for fuel sources for particular cancers, and identified fatty acids as an important source for prostate tumours.
Associate Professor Taylor said: “There is a strong link between obesity, diet and poor outcomes in men who develop prostate cancer. In particular, those men who consume more saturated fatty acids seem to have more aggressive cancer.”
Associate Professor Taylor said: “Our whole concept is about giving more appropriate treatment earlier to stop men getting to the late or advanced stage. Our studies showed that blocking fatty acid transport is one way to do this.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men (apart from common skin cancers). There are about 18,000 new cases in Australia every year. 2
One in six men in Australia are at risk of developing prostate cancer by the age of 85. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. It is uncommon in men younger than 50, although the risk is higher for younger men with a strong family history of prostate cancer, breast cancer or ovarian cancer, than for those without a family history.