🔊 Eavesdrop on Experts: The complex relationship between prostate cancer and obesity

Professor Matthew Watt, Head of the Department of Physiology, discusses the relationship between prostate cancer and obesity, and how these diseases can be prevented from progressing.

Previously seen as an older man’s disease, increased rates of prostate cancer in younger men has been associated with an increased incidence of obesity.

“There are a number of changes that happen in the body when you have obesity, that could lead to the progression of cancer,” says Professor Watt, Head of the Department of Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

“Essentially what we’ve found is that, unlike other cancer types, which rely heavily on glucose to fuel both their growth and their proliferation, prostate cancer cells are very highly reliant on fatty acids.”

Working with researchers at Monash University, Professor Watt’s group have shown that they can block the capacity of these prostate cells to take up fatty acids which slows their growth dramatically.

“We think this has very important implications in understanding both the progression of the disease, but also ways in which we might be able to therapeutically target prostate cancer in the future.”

Read more about Professor Watt's research on prostate cancer here.

Originally published in Pursuit.