Does Cancer Cell Like Sugar? (1/2)

Probably you have ever heard Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan and known that the scan is mainly used to find and monitor conditions including cancers, neurological (brain) disorders, and cardiovascular (heart-related) diseases, and other abnormalities.

However, do you ever know that this scan utilizes the feature that cancer cells “like sugar,” or in other words, absorb glucose?

Cancer cells absorb more glucose than other cells to grow themselves. Therefore, by injecting a small amount of radioactive glucose, Fludeoxyglucose F18 Injection or FDG, into the vein, the screening is to detect which cells are absorbing glucose or where glucose is being used in the body.

Glucose is an important fuel for cancer cells like other cells in your body; however, as source of energy, cancer cells can absorb only glucose while other cells, except red blood cells, can both glucose and ketone bodies. Ketone bodies is one of the products of fat burning in the body.

When there is not enough insulin, your body is unable to use sugar (glucose) for energy and your body breaks down its own fat and protein.

This is because mitochondria in cancer cells do not have enzyme which helps changing ketone bodies to energy.

Mitochondria plays “energy generator” in every cell.

Then, you may think that reducing or controlling sugar consumption will kill cancer cells because they are not able to take enough sugar. Is it really so?

The answer will be continued to the next chapter.