Obese people have an increased risk for cancer, but underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.
In a recent study, scientists find that in obese women, losing weight can lower the levels of protein in the blood that help tumor grow.
The finding is published in Cancer Research.
Researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle conducted the study. A total of 439 overweight/obese, healthy, postmenopausal women [body mass index (BMI) > 25] ages 50–75 years were recruited between 2005 and 2008.
Researchers tested the blood-vessel growth related with cancer growth in these women. Participants were asked to take a caloric restriction diet, or aerobic exercise, or a caloric diet plus aerobic exercise.
Researchers measured three proteins (PAI-1, VEGF, and PEDF) that are known to enhance tumor-related blood-vessel growth.
They found that participants in the diet plus exercise group had lower PAI-1 at 12 months compared with controls.
In addition, participants in the diet and diet plus exercise group had decreased PEDF and VEGF compared with controls. There were no differences in any of the analytes in participants randomized to the exercise arm compared with controls.
Researchers suggest that increasing weight loss was strongly associated with linear trends of greater reductions in proteins related to tumor-related blood-vessel growth. Future research can use weight loss as a cancer prevention method in overweight and obese individuals.