HOUSTON, Texas (WPVI) -- Sugary drinks feed colon cancer tumors in mice, suggesting that drinking soda could do the same in humans.
That's the conclusion of a new study published in the prestigious journal Science.
Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and Baylor University led the study.
Researchers say early stage tumors known as polyps ate high-fructose corn syrup straight out of the digestive tract in the mice.
The mice only got one dose a day - roughly the equivalent of a 12-ounce can of soda.
Doctors say the hunger of the polyps for high-fructose corn syrup could explain a surge in early colon cancer cases in young adults.
That increase had been attributed to obesity, which has risen in the U.S. in parallel to the rise in colorectal cancer.
But these results came in mice with no weight gain.
The research teams say more studies are needed to translate the discovery to people, but they do believe their findings suggest chronic consumption of sugary drink can shorten the time for cancer to develop.
In humans, it normally takes 20 to 30 years to go from early stage benign tumors to aggressive cancers.
Study: sugary drinks boost cancer growth in mice
Effect may explain surge of colon cancer in young adults