Posts Tagged ‘pancreatic cancer’

Increased Risk of Death from Pancreatic Cancer Associated with Heavy Drinking

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011


Research published in the March 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that heavy alcohol consumption (three or more glasses of liquor a day) is associated with an increase risk of death from pancreatic cancer. Although alcohol had been previously related to cancers of various sites and to acute and chronic pancreatitis it had never been associated with pancreatic cancer according to the researchers.

The researchers used data from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) in which initial data on alcohol consumption was collected in 1982 and follow up data was collected through 2006. This data showed 6,847 pancreatic cancer deaths among the one million participants. Of these 45.7 percent of the men and 62.6 percent of the women were non-drinkers. For men only and for men and women combined the data show a statistically significant increase risk of pancreatic cancer deaths for 3 drinks a day and for four or more drinks a day. For women alone the estimated risk of death was statistically significant for 4 drinks or more a day. When compared with non-drinkers three of more drinks of liquor daily was associated with an increase risk of death from pancreatic cancer in the total group.

For those who had never smoked, there was a 36% higher risk of death from pancreatic cancer in those who drank three or more drinks a day compared with non-drinkers for men and women combined. Findings strongly support the hypothesis that a high intake of alcohol is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer deaths.

More information is available at:

Pancreatic Cancer Progression to Lethal Stage Slower than Previously Believed

Friday, November 5th, 2010


Recent research from Johns Hopkins University published in the October 28 issue of Nature concluded that pancreatic cancer develops and spreads much more slowly than previously believed. The researcher continued ” For the first time, we have a quantifiable estimate of the development of pancreatic cancer, and when it would be best to intervene.”

It takes about 7 years following the appearance of the first cancer cell for the cells to multiply and turn into a cancerous tumor the size of a plum. At that time at least one cell has the potential to spread to other organs nad the patient dies about 2 1/2 years later.

Tissue sample of 7 patients who had died of metastatic cancer originating in the pancreas were taken within 6 hours of death and DNA was extracted. In all patients metastatic deposits were found in two or more sites that were often the lungs, liver and peritoneum. From the data types of mutations were identified and classified including both those before and after the cancer spread. They found both types of mutations in the primary site years before the metastases was identified clinically.

Using mathematical models they were able to estimate the following progression: an average of 11.7 years before the first cancer cell developed into a high grade pancreatic lesion; then an average of 6.8 years as it grew to the point where one cell could spread, and then, an average of 2.7 years until the patient died. with this information the goal is to develop a pancreatic cancer screening method that would allow early interventions. More information is available at: Shinichi Yachida, Sian Jones et al ((2010) Distant metastasis occurs late during the genetic evolution of pancreatic cancer. Nature 467 (7319) 1114 or

Fructose Associated with Growth of Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Friday, August 13th, 2010


In a study that appeared in the August 1 issue of Cancer Research, a peer-reviewed journal, researchers reported that pancreatic cancer cells use sugar fructose to activate a cellular pathway that drives cell division and helps the cancer cells grow more quickly. They stated “In this study, we show that cancer cells can use fructose just as readily as glucose to fuel their growth.”

The researchers used pancreatic cells from patients and cultured and grew them in petri dishes. Then they added glucose to one set of cells and fructose to another. They were able to determine what the sugars were being used for by following the carbon-labeled sugars in the cells using mass spectrometry. They found that even though the glucose and fructose sugars are similar in structure they were metabolized in very different ways. The pancreatic cancer cells used the fructose in the transketolase-driven non-oxidative pentose phoshate pathway to generate nucleic acids that are the building blocks of RNA and DNA needed by the cancer cells to divide and proliferate.

The researchers quoted an article that stated between 1970 and 1990 the consumption of fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) increased over 1,000 percent in the United States. It is added to foods and beverages and is the sole sweetener used in American soft drinks. They believe there should be a federal effort to reduce the use of fructose in the United States.