Research trial finds asparagus triggers breast cancer spread

Discovery in understanding the spread of breast cancer could lead to new treatments to slow metastasis

The researchers discovered that asparagine apparently helps breast cancer cells to transform into a state that can easily spread to the bloodstream and then to other organs.

It was more likely to be restricted to one site, potentially making the cancer significantly less harmful.

An amino acid found in a variety of foods including asparagus has been linked to the spread of breast cancer. Of course not, but researchers say this is more evidence that what we eat can change the course of disease.

From there, legions made the assumption that you should cut asparagus, as well as potatoes and seafood (which are also high in asparagine) out of your diet to stave off cancer. Now their tumors were seen to have a significantly slower rate of spread across the body and this, in turn, prolonged lives of the mice.

Restricting asparagine through a controlled diet plan or other means could be an additional part of treatment for some cancer patients in the future, the researchers believe. And if this research is proven in humans too, it's far more probably women suffering with aggressive breast cancer will be given nutrient-specific drinks that have no asparagine and all the necessary nutrients they will need to fight the cancer effectively. Ironically, the drug L-asparaginase relies heavily on asparagine and is now used to treat leukemia in people. There has been an earlier study published previous year that showed that the amino acids glycine and serine were important for the development and spread of lymphomas and intestinal cancers.

Greg Hannon, from Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Institute, said that they became interested in asparagine because they had noticed that breast cancer patients with the greatest propensity to...

Additionally, to confirm the role played by asparagine in the spread of cancerous tumors, the team analyzed data from breast cancer patients. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature.

"Limiting asparagine by knockdown of asparagine synthetase, treatment with L-asparaginase, or dietary asparagine restriction reduces metastasis without affecting growth of the primary tumor, whereas increased dietary asparagine or enforced asparagine synthetase expression promotes metastatic progression", wrote the article's authors.

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