Consumption of some foods associated with decrease in ovarian cancer risk

Nov 21, 2007
Consumption of some foods associated with decrease in ovarian cancer risk

New research from the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) reports that frequent consumption of foods containing the flavonoid kaempferol, including non-herbal tea and broccoli, was associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. The researchers also found a decreased risk in women who consumed large amounts of the flavonoid luteolin, which is found in foods such as carrots, peppers and cabbage. These findings appear in the November 15, 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

“This is good news because there are few lifestyle factors known to reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer,” said first author Margaret Gates, ScD, who is a research fellow at BWH. “Although additional research is needed, these findings suggest that consuming a diet rich in flavonoids may be protective.”

The causes of ovarian cancer are not well understood. What is known is the earlier the disease is found and treated, the better the chance for recovery; however, the majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced (metastasized) stage after the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. According to the National Cancer Institute, the 5-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with localized ovarian cancer is 92.4 percent. Unfortunately, this number drops to 29.8 percent if the cancer has already metastasized.

In this first prospective study to look at the association between these flavonoids and ovarian cancer risk, Gates and colleagues calculated intake of the flavonoids myricetin, kaempferol, quercetin, luteolin and apigenin among 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study. In this population, 347 cases of epithelial ovarian cancer were diagnosed between 1984 and 2002.

Although total intake of these five common dietary flavonoids was not clearly beneficial, the researchers found a 40 percent reduction in ovarian cancer risk among the women with the highest kaempferol intake, compared to women with the lowest intake. They also found a 34 percent reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer among women with the highest intake of luteolin, compared to women with the lowest intake.

“In this population of women, consumption of non-herbal tea and broccoli provided the best defense against ovarian cancer,” concluded Gates, who is also a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Other flavonoid-rich foods, such as onions, beans and kale, may also decrease ovarian cancer risk, but the number of women who frequently consumed these foods was not large enough to clearly evaluate these associations. More research is needed.”

Source: Harvard University

Explore further: Many older people have mutations linked to leukemia, lymphoma in their blood cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Feds: Don't expect winter to be polar vortex redux

35 minutes ago

(AP)—Federal forecasters don't expect a return of frequent cold blasts from the polar vortex this winter. Nor should the weather system that blocked rain from California last winter come back.

WASP has printer, will travel, to make houses

38 minutes ago

At Maker Faire Rome, an Italian 3D printer company is demonstrating a tall, portable machine that will bring 3D-printed dwellings to impoverished countries. WASP has been exploring low-cost solutions to ...

Cadavers beat computers for learning anatomy

18 minutes ago

Despite the growing popularity of using computer simulation to help teach college anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers, according to new research that has implications ...

Cell architecture: Finding common ground

41 minutes ago

When it comes to cellular architecture, function follows form. Plant cells contain a dynamic cytoskeleton which is responsible for directing cell growth, development, movement, and division. So over time, changes in the cytoskeleton ...

Recommended for you

70-gene signature not cost-effective in breast cancer

Oct 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—For patients with node-negative breast cancer (NNBC), the 70-gene signature is unlikely to be cost-effective for guiding adjuvant chemotherapy decision making, according to a study published ...

User comments : 0