Fruits and Veggies Cut Cancer Risks
Studies Offer New Insights Into How Plant-Rich Diets Can Offer Protection
WebMD News Archive
Fruit, Vegetables Lower Head and Neck Cancer Risk
While several studies have suggested that fruits and vegetables may lower
the risk of head and neck cancer, many suffered from poor design as they asked
people who had already developed cancer to recall their dietary habits years
before, says Kristal, who moderated a news conference on the findings.
To help settle the issue, National Cancer Institute researchers asked
490,802 AARP members about their typical dietary habits and then followed them
for five years. During that time, 787 of them developed head and neck
Results showed that participants who ate about 12 servings of fruit and
vegetables per day were 29% less likely to develop the cancer than those who
ate three servings per day. Increasing consumption by just two servings of
fruit or vegetables per day was associated with a 6% reduction in head and neck
cancer risk, researcher Neal Freedman, PhD, a cancer prevention fellow, tells
One serving equals approximately one medium-sized fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of
cut fruit, 6 ounces of fruit juice, 1 cup of leafy vegetables, or 1/2 cup of
Broccoli Curbs Breast Cancer Spread
While studies have shown that broccoli and soy offer protection against
breast and ovarian cancer, how this occurs has not been well understood, says
Erin Hsu, MS, a molecular toxicologist at the University of California, Los
Her team's laboratory experiments offer one potential clue, showing that
diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound resulting from digestion of cruciferous
vegetables, and genistein, a major isoflavone in soy, reduce production of two
proteins whose attraction to each other is necessary for the spread of both
In the experiments, the researchers exposed breast and ovarian cancer cells
to purified DIM or genistein. Levels of two proteins known as CXCR4 and CXCL12
that promote breast and ovarian cancer spread dropped.
"In other words, DIM and genistein make the cancers more treatable,"
Hsu tells WebMD.
Both DIM and genistein are being developed for use in the prevention and
treatment for breast cancer, although more extensive toxicological studies are
necessary, she says.