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Conrad Notes
a timely medical meeting newsletter
NUTRITION AND CANCER

E.L. Wynder, MD, American Health Foundation (AHF), New York City, presented the American Cancer Society Distinguished Lecture. The talk reviewed data from nutrition studies as early as 1942. Since dietary fat correlates highly with cancer of the breast and prostate, Wynder started two two important intervention studies on both diseases.
Breast cancer In 1942, Tannebaum showed increased breast cancer in animals fed a high fat diet. Later research identified linoleic acid above two percent as facilitating this cancer's development. Recent analysis of ethnic differences in percent consumed dietary fat yielded a significant correlation with breast cancer deaths (J Clin Epidem 1994;47:217-22).

Wynder referred to the complementary role of diet to tomoxifen treatment of breast cancer (Lancet,1992;339:1-15). This study prompted recent initiation of the AHF-coordinated, multicenter study on 2500 stage I and II postmenopausal breast cancer patients. The protocal calls for tamoxifen or other chemotherapy with a low fat diet (15% of total calories) or a high fat diet (30% of total calories).

Prostate cancer Dietary fat seems to make prostate cancer more invasive according to a 1973 study comparing native Japanese men with first generation Hawaiian Japanese. Clark et al showed increased dietary selenium led to a 70% decrease in prostate cancer and a 50% decrease in colon cancer (JAMA 1996;276:1957-1963).

A few months ago, Wynder started the Prostate Intervention Nutrition Study (PINS). Post-prostatectomy patients showing an elevation in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) will enter one of four groups. Group 1 continues without dietary supplements or restrictions. Group 2 switches to a low fat diet (15%). Group 3 adds a daily supplement of 200 mcg selenium along with 40 g of soy proteins and 800 IU of vitamin E. Group 4 consumes a low fat diet and takes the Group 3 supplements. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) will serve as the efficacy marker for the study.

Nutrition advisory Wynder, as expected, concluded the lecture with some advice:

  • For oncologists, consider nutrition as an adjunct in treating breast, prostate, and colon cancer.

  • For researchers, recognize the profound influence of lifestyle on the initiation, promotion and prevention of cancer. Listen to nature.

  • For sponsors, strengthen your interest in nutrition and cancer.

  • For everybody, pay attention to lifestyle medicine for yourself and your children.

For professional correspondence, please contact Dr. Wynder at: fax (212) 687-2339

Eugene A. Conrad

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on May 17-20, 1997
CONRAD NOTES, © 1997 All Rights Reserved
Eugene A. Conrad, PhD, MPH / ISSN 1078 / June 1997

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