Colorectal cancer, the cancer that originates in the colon or rectum, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. A plethora of studies have established a link between consumption of high-fat diet and increased risk of colorectal cancer, but the mechanism of this association was till now obscure.
As reported in the journal, Stem Cell Reports, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have unfolded this mechanism. In a study that utilized mice as the models, researchers have been able to identify a pathway that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in their colon in response to a high-fat diet.
Feeding the mice with high-fat diet increased the growth of cancer stem cells in their colon. Furthermore, researchers identified a cellular signalling pathway, JAK2-STAT3 that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon in response to a high-fat diet. Blocking this pathway reversed the growth of cancer stem cells in colon triggered by consuming a high-fat diet.
The study was co-authored by Dr Matthew Kalady, co-director of the Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic. “This study is first of its kind that mediates a link between high-fat diet and colorectal cancer through the demonstration of a cellular pathway; a discovery that opens the gates to new ways of treating colorectal cancer”, says Dr Kalady.
Another co-author, Justin D. Lathia further appreciates it as an insight into the influence of diet on cancer stem cells in advanced cancers.