Greater flavonol intake associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk
A presentation at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research held this month in Los Angeles reported the finding of researchers at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii that diets high in plant compounds known as flavonols have a reduced rate of pancreatic cancer. Onions, broccoli, berries, kale, and apples among other plants provide high amounts of the compounds, which include kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin.
For the current investigation, Laurence Kolonel, MD, PhD and colleagues evaluated the diets of 183,518 residents of California and Hawaii who were participants in The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Subjects completed food questionnaires upon enrollment and were followed for an average of eight years. Five hundred twenty-nine participants developed cancer over the follow-up period.
The team found that participants who consumed the most flavonols had a 23 percent lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those whose intake was least. The benefit was greatest in smokers, who experienced a 59 percent lower risk of developing the disease if their flavonol intake was among the highest group according to intake. The effect was largest in smokers, presumably because they are at increased pancreatic cancer risk already", stated research team member Ute Nรถthlings, DrPH, who is now with the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke. Short of stopping tobacco use, it has been difficult to consistently show lifestyle factors that might help protect against this deadly cancer.
The study is the first to prospectively examine classes of flavonols and pancreatic cancer risk. When individual flavonol intake was analyzed, kaempferol was associated with the greatest reduction.
Anticarcinogenic effects of flavonoids in general have been attributed to the ability of these constituents to inhibit cell cycle, cell proliferation and oxidative stress, and to induce detoxification enzymes and apoptosis," Dr Nรถthlings explained.
"Further epidemiological studies in other populations and geographic regions are needed to confirm our findings," she added.