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Fat Reduction Enhances Cancer Cell Death in Mice

Study findings suggest that fat cells may promote tumor development

FRIDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise or surgical fat removal stimulate the death of damaged skin and skin cancer cells in mice, suggesting that fat cells promote carcinogenesis by blocking the death of damaged cells, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Allan H. Conney, Ph.D., and colleagues from Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., irradiated the skin of mice with ultraviolet B light. They examined the effect of voluntary exercise or surgical removal of the parametrial fat pads before irradiation on apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the epidermis and in the induced tumors.

The researchers found that voluntary exercise stimulated cell death both in damaged epidermis and in tumors. The removal of fat also enhanced epidermal and tumor cell apoptosis, according to the study.

"The results of our studies suggest that fat cells secrete substances that inhibit apoptosis in cells with DNA damage and possibly also in tumors," Conney and colleagues conclude. "Our results help explain why exercise or various dietary regimens that decrease tissue fat inhibit carcinogenesis."

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