Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant-Based Fat Inhibits Cancer-Cell Growth By Enhancing Cell's Signaling System, UB Researchers Show

Date:
October 26, 1998
Source:
University At Buffalo
Summary:
Nutrition researchers at the University at Buffalo have provided the first evidence that a minor plant-based fat called B-sitosterol appears to play a role in inhibiting the growth of human prostate-cancer cells.

May explain why vegetable fats like olive oil appear to reduce cancer risk

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nutrition researchers at the University at Buffalo have provided the first evidence that a minor plant-based fat called B-sitosterol appears to play a role in inhibiting the growth of human prostate-cancer cells.

They found that the phytosterol B-sitosterol, a fat abundant in vegetarian diets, enhances an intracellular signaling system that tells cells not to divide. The study showed a 28 percent inhibition of prostate-cancer cell growth after being exposed to B-sitosterol for five days in vitro.

Atif Awad, Ph.D., head of UB's Nutrition Program, will present the results on Oct. 25 at the Sixth International Conference of Anti-Cancer Research in Kallithea, Greece.

"This phytosterol replaces some of the cell membrane's cholesterol, which changes the membrane lipid composition in such a way that signal transduction (secondary messenger activity) is stimulated, and that activation inhibits cell growth," Awad explained.

"If cell proliferation can be stopped before it becomes uncontrolled, cancer can be contained. When we treated prostate-cancer cells with phytosterols, cell proliferation was inhibited. We have found the same effect in vitro with breast and colon-cancer cells."

This activity may help to explain why vegetable fats, such as olive oil, in the diet reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, Awad said.

The work of Awad and colleagues is grounded in epidemiologic studies showing that prostate cancer is less common in Asian countries where diets are primarily vegetarian, and that rates increase when these people migrate to western societies where rates are higher and diets are primarily animal-based.

Working with sterols, a group of minor lipids, Awad and colleagues set out to examine the action of the main plant sterol -- B-sitosterol -- and the main animal sterol -- cholesterol -- on prostate-cancer cell growth.

In previous work, they identified activation of a cell-signaling pathway called the sphingomyelin cycle as one of the inhibitors of cell growth. The UB researchers felt that increased levels of B-sitosterol may amplify the signaling capability of two enzymes that act as second messengers in the sphingomyelin cycle, thus increasing its inhibitory action.

To test their theory, the researchers supplemented human prostate-cancer cell tissue in vitro with either cholesterol or B-sitosterol and monitored cell growth. They also measured activity of the secondary messenger enzymes.

Results showed there were 28 percent fewer cancer cells after five days of B-sitosterol treatment, compared to tissue cultures supplemented with cholesterol.

This inhibition of cell proliferation was accompanied by a 50 percent increase in the activity of one enzyme. The second enzyme showed a 31 percent increase in activity after one day of treatment; an increase of 11 percent remained after five days.

"If we know how phytosterols work, we can advise people how to modify their diets to reduce their risk of prostate cancer, or we could eventually design drugs to target this system," he said

Phytosterols are used widely in Europe to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), Awad said, and are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by interfering with cholesterol absorption. B-sitosterol is abundant in unrefined vegetable oils, such as virgin olive oil.

Also contributing to the research were Yongmei Gan, a graduate student in nutrition, and Carol S. Fink Ph.D., UB clinical assistant professor of nutrition. The study was supported by a grant from the Allen Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University At Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University At Buffalo. "Plant-Based Fat Inhibits Cancer-Cell Growth By Enhancing Cell's Signaling System, UB Researchers Show." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981026064855.htm>.
University At Buffalo. (1998, October 26). Plant-Based Fat Inhibits Cancer-Cell Growth By Enhancing Cell's Signaling System, UB Researchers Show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981026064855.htm
University At Buffalo. "Plant-Based Fat Inhibits Cancer-Cell Growth By Enhancing Cell's Signaling System, UB Researchers Show." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981026064855.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins