Dietary sugar intake increases liver tumor incidence in female mice.Sci Rep 2016; 6:22292SR
Overnutrition can promote liver cancer in mice and humans that have liver damage caused by alcohol, viruses, or carcinogens. However, the mechanism linking diet to increased liver tumorigenesis remains unclear in the context of whether tumorigenesis is secondary to obesity, or whether nutrients like sugar or fat drive tumorigenesis independent of obesity. In male mice, liver tumor burden was recently found to correlate with sugar intake, independent of dietary fat intake and obesity. However, females are less susceptible to developing liver cancer than males, and it remains unclear how nutrition affects tumorigenesis in females. Herein, female mice were exposed to the liver carcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN) and fed diets with well-defined sugar and fat content. Mice fed diets with high sugar content had the greatest liver tumor incidence while dietary fat intake was not associated with tumorigenesis. Diet-induced postprandial hyperglycemia and fasting hyperinsulinemia significantly correlated with tumor incidence, while tumor incidence was not associated with obesity and obesity-related disorders including liver steatosis, glucose intolerance, or elevated serum levels of estrogen, ALT, and lipids. These results simplify the pathophysiology of diet-induced liver tumorigenesis by focusing attention on the role of sugar metabolism and reducing emphasis on the complex milieu associated with obesity.