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NMU 115 – AGE and ER-positive Br CA

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 115 (January 3, 2019)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: How a High Sugar Diet Promotes Estrogen-Receptor Positive Breast Cancer: An Important Preclinical Study

Source: Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (October 2018)


According to an important study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have shown that products formed in our bloodstream from ingesting a high sugary foods and drinks stimulate the activity of estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells, making them more likely to divide, form tumors and metastasize.  More specifically, researchers exposed human breast cancer cells that were classified as estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells, to AGE-proteins, only to discover that the AGE-proteins stimulated the estrogen receptors on these breast cancer cells, causing them to start dividing.

But first, they exposed these breast cancer cells to the drug tamoxifen, which is commonly used to help prevent the recurrence of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen binds to estrogen receptors in a way the inhibits breast cancer cells from dividing. In this study exposure to tamoxifen did, in fact, stop these human breast cancer cells from dividing, but this protective effect was lost when AGE-proteins were added to the mix. In short, the AGE proteins overshadowed the preventive effects of the drug tamoxifen and stimulated these breast cancer cells to begin dividing again.

As the researchers point out, we have known for a long time that poor dietary and lifestyle practices are associated with cancer development, but we haven’t yet discovered all the biological mechanisms through which they act. Extrapolating the results of this study suggests that by eating a diet high in simple sugars an individual produces high amounts of AGE-proteins in the blood, which adversely affect estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer risk.

AGE stands for Advanced Glycation End-products, which simply means that high blood sugar levels sugarcoat many proteins in the bloodstream forming these AGE-proteins. In this study, the presence of AGE proteins stimulated estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells to replicate even in the presence of the cancer drug tamoxifen. The message appears to be that to help prevent estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer or the recurrence of estrogen-receptor breast cancer (in cancer survivors), women should be mindful of their blood sugar level and the consumption of simple sugars. A human study showed that obese women, who had a history of estrogen-receptor breast cancer, were able to lower the amount of AGE-proteins in their blood via a targeted dietary and exercise program. The diet was low in simple sugars, bad fats, as well as foods that were seared, fried or grilled. Each of these dietary practices is shown to be important in lowering the production of AGE-proteins in the blood.

But this information is not only important for women. You should know that high amounts of AGE-proteins in the bloodstream are also linked to increased risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis, macular degeneration, and kidney disease, and thus, it’s important for a variety of reasons for all of us to keep our blood sugar in the ideal range, avoid bad fats and cooking processes that encourage the production of these dangerous AGE-proteins.

I have included the scientific reference for this information in the text below. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.


Katherine R. Walter, Marvella E. Ford, Mathew J. Gregoski, Rita M. Kramer, Kendrea D. Knight, Laura Spruill, Lourdes M. Nogueira, Bradley A. Krisanits, Van Phan, Amanda C. La Rue, Michael B. Lilly, Stefan Ambs, King Chan, Tonya F. Turner, Heidi Varner, Shweta Singh, Jaime Uribarri, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, Kent E. Armeson, Ebony J. Hilton, Mark J. Clair, Marian H. Taylor, Andrea M. Abbott, Victoria J. Findlay, Lindsay L. Peterson, Gayenell Magwood, David P. Turner. Advanced glycation end products are elevated in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients, alter the response to therapy, and can be targeted by lifestyle interventionBreast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2018;


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

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