National guidelines recommend that men with prostate cancer eat a vegetable-rich diet, suggesting it might decrease cancer progression and death. But in a Phase III randomized clinical trial, patients with prostate cancer assigned to eat seven or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily saw no extra protection from the increased consumption of micronutrients.
These data indicate that, despite prevailing scientific and public opinion, eating more vegetables will not alter the course of prostate cancer. It will not, to the best of our knowledge, suppress or cure it. However, while eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and getting more exercise may not cure cancer, it may keep the body stronger and healthier, which may help patients tolerate cancer treatments." J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center professor of urology and study lead investigator
The Men's Eating and Living (MEAL) study, published January 14, 2020 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and led by UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators, enrolled 478 men aged 50 to 80 years at 91 sites in the United States. The patients had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate adenocarcinoma and enrolled in an active surveillance program in which patients defer immediate treatment until the disease advances.
Patients were randomized to a control group that received written information about diet and prostate cancer or to a telephone counseling behavioral intervention program that encouraged participants to eat foods high in carotenoids, such as leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Both groups were monitored for two years.
"Patients assigned to the intervention increased their intake of fruits and vegetables to a statistically significant degree, and significantly more than control patients did. These findings were supported by significant changes in the blood carotenoid levels of patients. Nonetheless, these data fail to support prevailing assertions in clinical guidelines and the popular media that diets high in micronutrient-rich vegetables improve cancer-specific outcomes among prostate cancer survivors," said James Marshall, PhD, Distinguished Professor with the Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at Roswell Park, co-senior author on the study with John Pierce, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Cancer Prevention at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Related Stories
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