December 29, 2008

Food additive may hasten lung cancer

A diet high in inorganic phosphates -- found in some processed foods -- might speed growth of lung cancer tumors, South Korean researchers suggest.

The study in mice finds a diet high in inorganic phosphates, found in a variety of processed foods including meats, cheeses, beverages and bakery products, might speed growth of lung cancer tumors and may even contribute to the development of those tumors in individuals predisposed to the disease, the researchers say.

Myung-Haing Cho and colleagues at Seoul National University also suggest that dietary regulation of inorganic phosphates may play an important role in lung cancer treatment.

Phosphate is an essential nutrient to living organisms, and can activate some signals, Cho says in a statement.

Lung cancer-model mice were studied for four weeks and were randomly assigned to receive a diet of either 0.5 or 1.0 percent phosphate, a range roughly equivalent to modern human diets. At the end of the four-week period, the lung tissue was analyzed to determine the effects of the inorganic phosphates on tumors.

The study, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, says the results clearly demonstrated that the diet higher in inorganic phosphates caused an increase in the size of the tumors and stimulated growth of the tumors."