Diet and cancer

Description of Research

Our main goal is to clarify the role of dietary factors in the development of hormone-dependent cancers. The focus is on altered sex steroid action, associated with obesity-related metabolic dysregulation, and its impact on the development of breast and prostate cancer. More specifically, we explore the mechanisms by which plant-derived polyphenols (e.g. lignans, stilbenoids, flavonoids) modulate sex steroid action, by using preclinical in vivo models (e.g., xenograft models and transgenic reporter mouse models). In order to carry out the studies on the influence of dietary factors in hormone-dependent cancers, it is necessary to understand the basic mechanisms of sex steroid action in normal and pathological processes, and basic research in this area is necessary for the development and optimization of experimental models suitable for the more applied dietary studies. Therefore, we also focus on the characterization of sex steroid action and biosynthesis in normal and cancerous tissues.

Members of the Research group

Niina Saarinen-Aaltonen, PhD, docent
Gabriela Martínez Chacón, PhD-student
Riikka Huhtaniemi, PhD-student
Matias Knuuttila, PhD-student

Selected Publications

Polari L, Yatkin E, Martínez Chacón MG, Ahotupa M, Smeds A, Strauss L, Zhang F, Poutanen M, Saarinen N, Mäkelä SI: Weight gain and inflammation regulate aromatase expression in male adipose tissue, as evidenced by reporter gene activity. Mol Cell Endocrinol 412: 123-130, 2015.

Kibble M, Saarinen N, Tang J, Wennerberg K, Mäkelä S, Aittokallio T: Network pharmacology applications to map the unexplored target space and therapeutic potential of natural products. Nat Prod Rep 32: 1249-1266, 2015.

Yatkin E, Polari L, Laajala TD, Smeds A, Eckerman C, Holmbom B, Saarinen NM, Aittokallio T, Mäkelä SI: Novel Lignan and stilbenoid mixture shows anticarcinogenic efficacy in preclinical PC-3M-luc2 prostate cancer model. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93764. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093764, 2014.

Knuuttila M, Yatkin E, Kallio J, Savolainen S, Laajala TD, Aittokallio T, Oksala R, Häkkinen M, Keski-Rahkonen P, Auriola S, Poutanen M, Mäkelä S: Castration induces upregulation of intratumoral androgen biosynthesis and androgen receptor expression in orthotopic VCaP human prostate cancer xenograft model. Am J Path, 184: 2163-73, 2014.

Damdimopoulou P, Nurmi T, Salminen A, Damdimopoulos AE, Kotka M, van der Saag P, Strauss L, Poutanen M, Pongratz I, Mäkelä S: A Single Dose of Enterolactone Activates Estrogen Signaling and Regulates Expression of Circadian Clock Genes in Mice. J Nutr 141: 1583-1589, 2011.