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Lactate Has A Role In Cancer Cell Formation, A New Study Says

First Posted: Mar 20, 2017 05:28 AM EDT
Targeting Cancer Cell Metabolism
During intense exercise such as sprinting, lactate is generated and this could play a role in the formation of cancer cells, according to a new study.
(Photo : Nature Video/YouTube screenshot)

A new study indicates that lactate, which is a molecule that is produced during intense exercise, has a key role in cancer cell formation. The lactate produces an acidic microenvironment outside the cancer cell that subsidizes the propagation of cancer cells.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Carcinogenesis. The study investigates the role of lactate in oncogenesis. It is the process in which normal cells become cancerous ones. The study was led by Inigo San Millan, the director of the Sports Performance Department, and other colleagues.

During intense exercise like sprinting, the lactate rises as the glucose is broken down and oxidized to pyruvate. Its production is beneficial because it restores the NAD+, which is depleted in the oxidation of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate during the production of pyruvate from glucose. This guarantees that energy production and exercise are sustained and continued.

In the study, the team examined the role of lactate in angiogenesis. It is the process by which new blood vessels form inside the tumors. They also evaluated the immune escape, which the cancer cells' capacity to avoid the immune response of the body and the cell migration, metastasis and self-sufficient metabolism.

The researchers postulate that transcription factors usually found in most cancer, namely the cMYC, HIF-1 and p53, also cause and spread lactate deregulation. The results of the study indicate that a sedentary lifestyle comes together with too much sugar in diets could lead to an extreme growth of lactate resulting in a cancer cell formation, according to Medical News Today.

San Millan explained that this study opens an opportunity for understanding cancer and shows for the first time that lactate is not only visible but binding for each step in its development. He also hopes for the development of drugs that could stop lactate from producing. "We hope to sound the alarm for the research community that to stop cancer you have to stop lactate."

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