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article imageLimiting carbs could help certain breast cancers

By Tim Sandle     Jun 16, 2014 in Science
Research suggests that reducing carbohydrate intake could reduce the risk of certain types of breast cancer recurrence among women.
Concerned about the associations between obesity, diabetes, and cancer risk, researchers have looked at one type of breast cancer with women whose tumor tissue is positive for an IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) receptor. IGF-1 is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin. It plays an important role in childhood growth and continues to have effects in adults. The reason for focusing on a type of cancer that is associated with problems with the production of this hormone, is due to concerns with survival rates.
The study has examined the combined association of two factors implicated in tumor growth: carbohydrate intake and IGF1 receptor status. The association was examined because of a theory that the activation of insulin can impact breast cancer. Previous research suggests that over-activation of the insulin, which increases the availability of IGF-1 in the blood, may relate to a poor prognosis among breast cancer survivors.
Because carbohydrates stimulate the biological pathway that can increase concentrations of IGF1, the research team focused on carbohydrate intake. By reviewing records over a six-year period, the analysis showed that a decreased carbohydrate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer recurrence for these women.
The implications are that it might be possible to personalize recommended diets for breast cancer survivors based on the molecular characteristics of their primary tumor. Importantly, for the time being, the researchers state that breast cancer survivors should continue to follow a plant-based dietary pattern as suggested by the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association, which means eating lots of fiber rich vegetables, legumes, and fruits; consuming whole grains and also limiting refined grains, starchy vegetables, and added sugar.
The study was conducted at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. The research has been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. The paper is headed “Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence Associated with Carbohydrate Intake and Tissue Expression of IGFI Receptor.”
More about carbohydrates, Breast Cancer, Cancer
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