Cancer and Diet


 Nutrigenomics, epigenetics, DNA methylation, microRNA, dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, personalized nutrition, disease prevention, therapeutic nutrition.

How to Cite

Kenneth Lundstrom. (2012). Cancer and Diet . Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, 2(1), 63–70.


Intervention in food intake has been demonstrated to play an enormous role in both prevention and treatment of disease. Numerous studies indicate a clear link between cancer and diet. The substantial development of sequencing technologies has resulted in access to enormous amounts of genomics information, which resulted in the establishment of nutrigenomics as an emerging approach to link genomics research to studies on nutrition. Increased understanding has demonstrated how nutrition can influence human health both at genetic and epigenetic levels. Dramatic dietary modifications have proven essential in reducing risk and even prevention of cancer. Moreover, intense revision of diet in cancer patients has revealed significant changes in gene expression and also has provided therapeutic efficacy even after short-term application. Obviously, a multitude of diets have been evaluated, but probably the common factor for achieving both prophylactic and therapeutic responses is to consume predominantly diets rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and fibers and reduced quantities of especially red meat. Despite encouraging findings on how dietary modifications can prevent disease and restore health, there are a number of factors which complicate the outcome. There are variations in response to dietary changes depending on age and gender. Furthermore, ethnic, social and geographic circumstances play an important role.


Su LJ, Mahabir S, Ellison GL, McGuinn LA, Reid BC. Epigenetic contributions to the relationship between cancer and dietary intake of nutrients, bioactive food components and environmental toxicants. Front Genetics 2012; 2: 1-11.

Doll R, Peto R. The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. J Natl Cancer Inst 1981; 66: 1191-308.

World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute of Cancer Research, Diet, Nutritionand Prevention of Human Cancer: A Global Perspective, World Cancer Research Fund, Washington, American Institute of Cancer Research, 2007.

Ouédraogo M, Charles C, Ouédraogo M, Guissou IP, Stévigny C, Duez P. An overview of cancer chemopreventive potential and safety of proanthocyanidins. Nutr Cancer 2011; 63: 1163-73.

Ferguson LR. Nutrigenomics approaches to functional foods. J Am Diet Assoc 2009; 109: 452-8.

Lampe JW. Interindividual differences in response to plant-based diets: implications for cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 89: 1553S-1557S.

Milner JA. Nutrition and cancer: essential elements for a roadmap. Cancer Lett 2008; 269: 189-98.

Tan EC, Li H. Characterization of frequencies and distribution of single nucleotide insertions/deletions in the human genome. Gene 2006; 376: 268-80.

Smith ED, Tsuchiya M, Fox IA, et al. Quantitative evidence for conserved longevity pathways between divergent eukaryotic species. Genome Res 2008; 18: 564-70.

Payton A, Gibbons I, Davidson Y, et al. Influence of serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms on cognitive decline and cognitive abilities in a nondemented elderly population. Mol Psychiatry 2005; 10: 1133-9.

Need AC, Attix DK, McEvoy JM, et al. A genome-wide srudy of common SNPs and CNVs in cognitive performance in the CANTAB. Hum Mol Genet 2009; 18: 4650-61.

Wicker T, Sabot F, Hua-Van A, et al. A unified classification systemfor eukaryotic transposable elements. Nat Rev Genet 2007; 8: 973-82.

Fang M, Chen D, Yang CS. Dietary polyphenols may affect DNA methylation. J Nutr 2007; 137: 223S-228S.

Esquela-Kerscher A, Slack FI. Oncomirs – microRNAs with a role in cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 2006; 6: 259-69.

Jones PA, Baylin SB. The epigenomics of cancer. Cell 2007; 128: 683-92.

Baccarelli A, Bollati V. Epigenetics and environmental chemicals. Curr Opin Pediatr 2009; 21: 243-51.

Bollati V, Baccarelli A. Environmental epigenetics. Heredity 2010; 105: 105-12.

Lundstrom K. MicroRNA in disease and gene therapy. Curr Drug Discov Technol 2011; 8: 76-86.

Mathers JC, Strathdee G, Relton CL. Induction of epigenetic alterations by dietary and other environmental factors. Adv Genet 2010; 71: 3-39.

Shah PP, Hutchinson LE, Kakar SS. Emerging role of microRNAs in diagnosis and treatment of various diseases including ovarian cancer. J Ovarian Res 2009; 2: 11.

Ong TP, Moreno FS, Ross SA. Targeting the epigenome with bioactive food components for cancer prevention. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics 2011; 4: 275-92.

Ross SA, Davis CD. MicroRNA, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention. Adv Nutr 2011; 2: 472-85.

Dong JY, He K, Wang P, Qin LK. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 94: 900-5.

Dong JY, Zhang L, He K, Qin LQ. Dairy consumption and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011; 127: 23-31.

Dong JY, Qin LQ. Soy isoflavones consumption and risk of breast cancer incidence or recurrence: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011; 125: 315-23.

Buckland G, Travier N, Agudo A, et al. Olive oil intake and breast cancer risk in the Mediterranean countries of the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC) study. Int J Cancer 2012; Mar 6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27516. [Epub ahead of print

Lubinski J, Huzarski T, Jakubowska A, al. Prospective observation of breast/ovarian cancer risk in BCRA1 carriers depending on selenium serum level optimized with diet. Heredit Cancer Clin Pract 2012; 10: A11.

Henning SM, Wang P, Said J, et al. Polyphenols in brewed green tea inhibit prostate tumor xenograft growth by localizing to the tumor and decreasing oxidative stress and angiogenesis. J Nutr Biochem 2012; Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print

Atawodi SE. Nigerian foodstuffs with prostate cancer chemopreventive polyphenols. Infect Agent Cancer 2011; 6 Suppl 2: S9.

Ornish D, Magbanua MJM, Weidner G, et al. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2008; 105: 8369-74.

Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, et al. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology 2008; 72: 1319-23.

Ho E, Beaver LM, Williams DE, Dashwood RH. Dietary factors and epigenetic regulation for prostate cancer prevention. Adv Nutr 2011; 2: 497-10.

Williams JD, Jacobson EL, Kim H, Kim M, Jacobson MK. Folate in skin cancer prevention. Subcell Biochem 2012; 56: 181-97.

Grant WB. An estimate of the global reduction in mortality rates through doubling vitamin D levels. Eur J Clin Nutr 2011; 65: 1016-26.

Katiyar SK, Singh T, Prasad R, Sun Q, Vaid M. Epigenetic Alterations in Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Skin Carcinogenesis: Interaction of Bioactive Dietary Components on Epigenetic Targets(†). Photochem Photobiol 2011 Oct 21. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2011.01020.x. [Epub ahead of print

Jeurnink S, Büchner F, Bueno-de-Mesquita H, et al. Variety in vegetable and fruit consumption and the risk of gastric and esophageal cancer in the EuropeanProspective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC). Int J Cancer 2012; Mar 6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27517. [Epub ahead of print

Cooper R. Green tea and theanine: health benefits. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2012; 63: 90-7.

Annema N, Heyworth JS, McNaughton SA, Iacopetta B, Fritschi L. Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of proximal colon, distal colon, and rectal cancers in a case-control study in Western Australia. J Am Diet Assoc 2011; 111: 1479-90.

Steevens J, Schouten LJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA. Vegetables and fruits consumption and risk of esophageal and gastric cancer subtypes in the Netherlands Cohort Study. Int J Cancer 2011; 129: 2681-93.

Barrera LN, Cassidy A, Johnson IT, Bao Y, Belshaw NJ. Epigenetic and antioxidant effects of dietary isothiocyanates and selenium: potential implications for cancer chemoprevention. Proc Nutr Soc 2012 Mar 6:1-9. [Epub ahead of print

Ho E, Beaver LM, Williams DE, Dashwood RH. Dietary factors and epigenetic regulation for prostate cancer prevention. Adv Nutr 2011; 2: 497-510.

Ferguson LR, Schlothauer RC. The potential role of nutritional genomics tools in validating high health foods for cancer control: broccoli as example. Mol Nutr Food Res 2012; 56: 126-46.

Hashem FA, Motawea H, El-Shabrawy AE, Shaker K, El-Sherbini S. Myrosinase Hydrolysates of Brassica oleraceae L. Var. italica Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer. Phytother Res 2011; Nov 11. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3591. [Epub ahead of print

Latté KP, Appel KE, Lampen A. Health benefits and possible risks of broccoli - an overview. Food Chem Toxicol 2011; 49: 3287-309.

Prasad AS, Beck FW, Snell DC, Kucuk O. Zinc in cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer 2009; 61: 879-87.

Ouédraogo M, Charles C, Ouédraogo M, Guissou IP, Stévigny C, Duez P. An overview of cancer chemopreventive potential and safety of proanthocyanidins. Nutr Cancer 2011; 63: 1163-73.

Nakata R, Takahashi S, Inoue H. Recent advances in the study on resveratrol. Biol Pharm Bull 2012; 35: 273-9.

Park EJ, Pezzuto JM. Flavonoids In Cancer Prevention. Anticancer Agents Med Chem 2012 Jan 31. [Epub ahead of print

Hyson DA. A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health. Adv Nutr 2011; 2: 408-20.

Bozzetti F. Nutritional support in oncologic patients: where we are and where we are going. Clin Nutr 2011; 30: 714-7.

Murphy RA, Mourtzakis M, Mazurak VC. n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: the potential role for supplementation in cancer. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2012; Feb 23. [Epub ahead of print

Bauer J, Jürgens H, Frühwald MC. Important aspects of nutrition in children with cancer. Adv Nutr 2011; 2: 67-77.

Casas F, Leon C, Jovell E, et al. Adapted ice cream as a nutritional supplement in cancer patients: impact on quality of life and nutritionalstatus. Clin Transl Oncol 2012; 14: 66-72.

Plotnikoff GA. Interventional nutrition in cancer survivorship. A case study. Minn Med 2010; 93: 53-8.

Farooqi AA, Rana A, Riaz AM, et al. NutriTRAILomics in prostate cancer: time to have two strings to one's bow. Mol Biol Rep 2012; 39: 4909-14.

Won I, Kim YJ, Kim SJ, Kim EH, Hahm KB. Nutrigenomic approach to tackle the unpleasant journey to Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric carcinogenesis. J Dig Dis 2011; 12: 157-64.

German JB, Zivkovic AM, Dallas DC, Smilowitz JT. Nutrigenomics and personalized diets: What will they mean for food? Annu Rev Food Sci Technol 2011; 2: 97-123.

Fay LB, German JB. Personalizing foods: is genotype necessary? Curr Opin Biotechnol 2008; 19: 121-8.

Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, et al. Red meat consumption and mortality. Arch Intern Med [Epub ahead of print

Ornish D. Holy cow! What’s good for you is good for the planet. Arch Intern Med [Epub ahead of print

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2012 Kenneth Lundstrom