Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-7l5rh Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-23T19:25:00.292Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The potential of nuts in the prevention of cancer

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 April 2007

Carlos A. González*
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Registry, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain
Jordi Salas-Salvadó
Affiliation:
Human Nutrition Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain
*
*Corresponding author: Carlos A. González Svatetz, Fax: +34 93 2607787, email: cagonzalez@ico.scs.es
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]

Abstract

Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Cancer is a disease that is characterized by the loss of genetic control over cell growth and proliferation, mainly as a result of the exposure to environmental factors. Cessation of smoking and a high consumption of fruits and vegetables are the most important means of reducing the risk of cancer in our society. Like fruits and vegetables, nuts are a source of vegetable protein, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, phenolic compounds, selenium, vegetable fibre, folic acid and phytoestrogens. There are numerous mechanisms of action by which these components can intervene in the prevention of cancer, although they have not been fully elucidated. There are very few epidemiological studies analyzing the relationship between nuts consumption and risk of cancer. One of the greatest difficulties in interpreting the results is that the consumption of nuts, seeds and legumes are often presented together. The most commonly studied location is the colon/rectum, an organ in which the effect of nuts is biologically plausible. Although the results are not conclusive, a protective effect on colon and rectum cancer is possible. Likewise, some studies show a possible protective effect on prostate cancer, but there is insufficient data on other tumour locations. New epidemiological studies are required to clarify the possible effects of nuts on cancer, particularly prospective studies that make reliable and complete estimations of their consumption and which make it possible to analyse their effects independently of the consumption of legumes and seeds.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006

References

Adlercreutz, H (1995) Phytoestrogens: epidemiology and a possible role in cancer protection. Environ Health Perspect 103, Suppl. 7103112.Google Scholar
Bingham, SA, Day, NE, Luben, R, et al. (2003) Dietary fibre in food and protection against colorectal cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC): an observational study. Lancet 361, 14961501.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, HB, Maisonneuve, P, Runia, S & Moerman, CJ (1991) Intake of foods and nutrients and cancer of the exocrine pancreas: a population-based case-control study in The Netherlands. Int J Cancer 48, 540549.Google Scholar
Clark, LC, Dalkin, B, Krongrad, A, et al. (1998) Decreased incidence of prostate cancer with selenium supplementation: results of a double-blind cancer prevention trial. Br J Urol 81, 730734Google Scholar
COMA (Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and & Nutrition Policy) (1998) Nutritional aspects of the development of cancer. Norwich, UK: COMA.Google Scholar
Correa, P, Fontham, ET, Bravo, JC, et al. (2000) Chemoprevention of gastric dysplasia: randomized trial of antioxidant supplements and anti-helicobacter pylori therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst 92, 18811888Google Scholar
Dreher, ML, Maher, CV & Kearney, P (1996) The traditional and emerging role of nuts in healthful diets. Nutr Rev 54, 241245.Google Scholar
Graham, S, Dayal, H, Swanson, M, Mittelman, A & Wilkinson, G (1978) Diet in the epidemiology of cancer of the colon and rectum. J Natl Cancer Inst 61, 709714.Google Scholar
Greenberg, ER, Baron, JA, Tosteson, TD, et al. (1994) A clinical trial of antioxidant vitamins to prevent colorectal adenoma. Polyp Prevention Study Group. N Engl J Med 331, 141147.Google Scholar
Greenwald, P, Clifford, CK & Milner, JA (2001) Diet and cancer prevention. Eur J Cancer 37, 948965.Google Scholar
Hebert, JR, Hurley, TG, Olendzki, BC, Teas, J, Ma, Y & Hampl, JS (1998) Nutritional and socioeconomic factors in relation to prostate cancer mortality: a cross-national study. J Natl Cancer Inst 90, 16371647.Google Scholar
Heilbrun, LK, Nomura, A, Hankin, JH & Stemmermann, GN (1989) Diet and colorectal cancer with special reference to fiber intake. Int J Cancer 44, 16.Google Scholar
Heinonen, OP, Albanes, D, Virtamo, J, et al. (1998) Prostate cancer and supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene: incidence and mortality in a controlled trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 90, 440446.Google Scholar
Hoshiyama, Y & Sasaba, T (1992) A case-control study of stomach cancer and its relation to diet, cigarettes, and alcohol consumption in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Cancer Causes Control 3, 441448.Google Scholar
Iscovich, JM, Iscovich, RB, Howe, G, Shiboski, S & Kaldor, JM (1989) A case-control study of diet and breast cancer in Argentina. Int J Cancer 44, 770776.Google Scholar
Jain, MG, Hislop, GT, Howe, GR & Ghadirian, P (1999) Plant foods, antioxidants, and prostate cancer risk: findings from case-control studies in Canada. Nutr Cancer 34, 173184.Google Scholar
Jenab, M, Ferrari, P, Slimani, N, et al. (2004) Association of nut ans seed intake with colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 13, 15951603.Google Scholar
Kannamkumarath, SS, Wrobel, K, Wrobel, K, Vonderheide, A & Caruso, JA (2002) HPLC-ICP-MS determination of selenium distribution and speciation in different types of nut. Anal Bioanal Chem 373, 454460.Google Scholar
Key, TJ, Allen, NE, Spencer, EA & Travis, RC (2002) The effect of diet on risk of cancer. Lancet 360, 861868.Google Scholar
Kris-Etherton, PM, Hecker, KD, Bonanome, A, Coval, SM, Binkoski, AE, Hilpert, KF, Griel, AE & Etherton, TD (2002) Bioactive compounds in foods: their role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Am J Med 113, Suppl 9B71S88S.Google Scholar
Kune, S, Kune, GA & Watson, LF (1987) Case-control study of dietary etiological factors: the Melbourne Colorectal Cancer Study. Nutr Cancer 9, 2142.Google Scholar
Kushi, LH, Lenart, EB & Willett, WC (1995) Health implications of Mediterranean diets in light of contemporary knowledge. 1. Plant foods and dairy products. Am J Clin Nutr 61, 1407S1415S.Google Scholar
Liggins, J, Bluck, LJ, Runswick, S, Atkinson, C, Coward, WA & Bingham, SA (2000) Daidzein and genistein content of fruits and nuts. J Nutr Biochem 11, 326331.Google Scholar
Martin-Moreno, JM (2000) The role of olive oil in lowering cancer risk: is this real gold or simply pinchbeck? J Epidemiol Commun Health 54, 726727.Google Scholar
Mills, PK, Beeson, WL, Phillips, RL & Fraser, GE (1989) Cohort study of diet, lifestyle and prostate cancer in Adventist men. Cancer 64, 598604.Google Scholar
Omenn, GS (2000) Chemoprevention of lung cancer is proving difficult and frustrating, requiring new approaches. J Natl Cancer Inst 92, 959960.Google Scholar
Peters, RK, Pike, MC, Garabrant, D & Mack, TM (1992) Diet and colon cancer in Los Angeles County, California. Cancer Causes Control 3, 457473.Google Scholar
Petridou, E, Kedikoglou, S, Koukoulomatis, P, Dessypris, N & Trichopoulos, D (2002) Diet in relation to endometrial cancer risk: a case-control study in Greece. Nutr Cancer 44, 1622.Google Scholar
Pickle, LW, Greene, MH, Ziegler, RG, Toledo, A, Hoover, R, Lynch, HT & Fraumeni, JF Jr (1984) Colorectal cancer in rural Nebraska. Cancer Res 44, 363369.Google Scholar
Prentice, RL (2003) Dietary assessment and the reliability of nutritional epidemiology reports. Lancet 362, 182183.Google Scholar
Schatzkin, A, Lanza, E, Corle, D, et al. (2000) Lack of effect of a low-fat, high-fiber diet on the recurrence of colorectal adenomas. Polyp Prevention Trial Study Group. N Engl J Med 342, 11491155.Google Scholar
Simonsen, NR, Fernandez-Crehuet, NJ, Martin-Moreno, JM, et al. (1998) Tissue stores of individual monounsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer: the EURAMIC study. European Community Multicenter Study on Antioxidants, Myocardial Infarction, and Breast Cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 68, 134141.Google Scholar
Singh, PN & Fraser, GE (1998) Dietary risk factors for colon cancer in a low-risk population. Am J Epidemiol 148, 761774.Google Scholar
Stoner, GD & Mukhtar, H (1995) Polyphenols as cancer chemopreventive agents. J Cell Biochem Suppl 22, 169180.Google Scholar
Terry, P, Giovannucci, E, Michels, KB, Bergkvist, L, Hansen, H, Holmberg, L & Wolk, A (2001) Fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber, and risk of colorectal cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 93, 525533.Google Scholar
Trichopoulos, D, Ouranos, G, Day, NE, Tzonou, A, Manousos, O, Papadimitriou, C & Trichopoulos, A (1985) Diet and cancer of the stomach: a case-control study in Greece. Int J Cancer 36, 291297.Google Scholar
van Erp-Baart, MA, Brants, HA, Kiely, M, Mulligan, A, Turrini, A, Sermoneta, C, Kilkkinen, A & Valsta, LM (2003) Isoflavone intake in four different European countries: the VENUS approach. Br J Nutr 89, Suppl. 1S25S30.Google Scholar
WCRF, & AICR: World Cancer Research Fund & American Investigation of & Cancer Research (1997) Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective. Menasha, USA: BANTA Book Group.Google Scholar
World & Health Organization (2004) The world health report 2004: changing history. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
Yang, CS, Landau, JM, Huang, MT & Newmark, HL (2001) Inhibition of carcinogenesis by dietary polyphenolic compounds. Annu Rev Nutr 21, 381406.Google Scholar
Young, TB & Wolf, DA (1988) Case-control study of proximal and distal colon cancer and diet in Wisconsin. Int J Cancer 42, 167175.Google Scholar