Thursday, February 19, 2009

Greater carotenoid intake linked with longer cancer-free survival in breast cancer patients

The February, 2009 issue of the American Association for Cancer Research journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention published the discovery of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Arizona, and other research centers of a positive effect of high carotenoid intake on recurrence-free survival in breast cancer patients. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, occur in most fruits and vegetables. Diets high in these plant foods have been linked with a protective effect against various cancers in a number of studies.

The current study included 3,043 participants in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study which was designed to evaluate the effect of a high plant food, low fat diet on breast cancer recurrence and survival in women diagnosed and treated for early-stage disease. Participants were assigned to a group that had as its goal consumption of 5 vegetable servings per day, 3 fruit servings, 30 grams fiber, and 15 to 20 percent of calories from fat, or to a group that received instructions on achieving a daily intake of 5 servings of combined vegetables and fruit, at least 20 grams of fiber, and less than 30 percent of energy intake from fat.

Blood samples collected upon enrollment and at one, two or three, four and six years were analyzed for plasma carotenoids, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Average carotenoid concentration over time, reflecting dietary intake, was estimated for each participant, and those with low, medium and high concentrations were compared. Continue Reading

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