Breast Cancer: the asparagus under the magnifying glass of researchers

News 11 February, 2018
  • QMI agency

    Sunday, February 11, 2018 17:07

    Sunday, February 11, 2018 17:07

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    Deprive the cancer of the breast of asparagine, an amino acid that is found especially in asparagus, would prevent the development of the disease, according to a study conducted at the Institute of cancer research, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

    In a report of the study, the researchers explain that research conducted on mice shows that the asparagine allows the breast cancer to develop. To block the production of this amino acid, a component used in the formation of proteins, could prevent the cancer from spreading elsewhere, such as in the lungs, bones or the brain.

    “Our work has identified one of the key mechanisms that allow breast cancer to spread. When the availability of asparagine is reduced, there is little impact on the primary tumor in the breast, but cancer cells lose part of their ability to develop metastases elsewhere in the body”, explained in a press release published on the website of the charity Cancer Research UK, professor Greg Hannon, who led the study.

    “In the future, to restrict the production of this amino acid through diet or controlled by other means could be added to the treatment of breast cancer and other cancers,” said Mr. Hannon. The research suggests that this technique might also be beneficial for fighting against cancers of the kidney, head and neck.

    Asparagine is naturally secreted by the human cells, but its production can be blocked using a drug, the L-Asparaginase. Asparagine is also found in foods, including asparagus, soy, dairy products, poultry, and seafood.

    According to estimates by the canadian cancer Society (CCS), approximately 25 000 women were to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2017, accounting for one-quarter of all cancers diagnosed in women. About 5,000 women were dying, or 13 % of the deaths caused by cancer in 2017.

    In Quebec, the SCC was estimated that 6500 women would receive a diagnosis of breast cancer last year and that 1300 would die.