Obesity Promotes Prostate Cancer by altering gene regulation
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and early treatment is usually very successful. However, like other cancers, obesity increases the risk of aggressive prostate disease.
New research finds that the fat surrounding the prostate of overweight or obese men with prostate cancer provides a favorable environment to promote cancer growth.
Fat is a generally underrated organ. Not only is it an energy store but it secretes a wide range of growth factors, cytokines and hormones, including leptin and adiponectin, and is a major player in the immune system, which protects the body from infection and disease. But too much fat can cause these systems to go haywire and can increase risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A team headed by investigators at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra (Spain) and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology compared gene expression in adipose tissue surrounding the prostate in lean and obese/overweight men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate cancer that was either confined to the prostate or had escaped into the surrounding adipose tissue.
Regardless of type of prostate disease the overweight men had different levels of gene activity in the fat surrounding their prostates compared to the lean men. This included genes which encode proteins involved in immunity and inflammation, and cell growth and proliferation, fat metabolism and programmed cell death.
Additionally the activity of more genes was altered between hyperplasia and prostate cancer, and between cancer and non-confined cancer, suggesting a gradual increase in dysregulation during cancer progression.
The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited.
The authors report their results in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine:
Ribeiro R et al. Obesity and prostate cancer: gene expression signature of human periprostatic adipose tissue. BMC Medicine, 2012; (in Press)