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Dietary Factors Influence Ovarian Cancer Survival Rates

2010-03-01

New Study Shows Relationship Between Healthy Eating and Prolonged Survival

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – 2009 estimates projected that in the United States alone 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer would be diagnosed and 14,600 women would die of the disease.  Often diagnosed in late stages, ovarian cancer has an asymptomatic onset and a relatively low 5-year survival rate of about 45%. Consequently investigation linked to survivorship is critical. A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, is among the first to evaluate possible diet associations with ovarian cancer survival. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago determined that there is a strong relationship between healthy eating and prolonged survival.

The subjects included 351 women diagnosed with incident epithelial ovarian cancer who participated in a previous case-control study. The original study collected demographic, clinico-pathologic, and lifestyle-related variables including diet. Each subject completed a food frequency questionnaire where they were asked to report their usual dietary intake over the three to five years prior to their diagnosis.

To translate the diet estimates into a meaningful way, the FFQ items were assigned to the major food groups reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 (DGA) including fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy, fats and oils, sweets, and alcohol. Grains, meats, and dairy were further subdivided to “suggested” and “other” groups. The “suggested” subdivisions included healthier food choices, whereas the “other” subdivisions contained less desirable selections.

The authors found that higher total fruit and vegetable consumption, and higher vegetable consumption alone led to a survival advantage. Likewise, a statistically significant improvement in survival was observed for the healthier grains. Higher intakes of less-healthy meats were associated with a survival time disadvantage.

Writing in the article, Therese A. Dolecek, PhD, MS, RD, Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Institute for Health Research and Policy, School of Public Health and Member, Cancer Control and Population Science Research Program, UIC Cancer Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues state, “The study findings suggest that food patterns three to five years prior to a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer have the potential to influence survival time. The pre-diagnosis food patterns observed to afford a survival advantage after an epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosis reflect characteristics commonly found in plant-based or low fat diets. These diets generally contain high levels of constituents that would be expected to protect against cancer and minimize ingestion of known carcinogens found in foods.”

In an editorial commentary in the same issue, Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, and David S. Alberts, MD, Director, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, write, “The authors provide new evidence that dietary factors, particularly total fruit and vegetable, red and processed meat and milk intakes, may influence ovarian cancer survival. These findings corroborate earlier work by Nagle et al and are among only a select few studies of dietary associations with ovarian cancer recurrence and/or prognosis despite a significant and growing body of literature suggesting diet may influence ovarian cancer risk.”

The article is “Pre-diagnosis Food Patterns Are Associated with Length of Survival from Epithelial Ovarian Cancer” by Therese A. Dolecek, PhD, MS, RD, Bridget J. McCarthy, PhD, Charlotte E. Joslin, OD, PhD, Caryn E. Peterson, MS, Seijeoung Kim, PhD, MPH, Sally A. Freels, PhD, and Faith G. Davis, PhD. The commentary is “Diet and Survival After Ovarian Cancer: Where are We and What’s Next?” by Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, and David S. Alberts, MD. Both appear in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 3 (March 2010) published by Elsevier.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

Full text of the article featured above is available upon request. Journalists wishing to set up interviews should contact:

For Therese A. Dolecek, PhD, MS, RD (original research)
Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez,
News Bureau, Office of Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago
smcginn@uic.edu
312-996-8277

For Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, and David S. Alberts, MD (commentary)
Sara Hammond
Public Affairs Director
Arizona Cancer Center Public Relations Office
shammond@azcc.arizona.edu
520-626-2277 

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ABOUT THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION

The official journal of the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org) the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (www.adajournal.org) is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION

The American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

ABOUT ELSEVIER

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), Reaxys (www.reaxys.com), MD Consult (www.mdconsult.com) and Nursing Consult (www.nursingconsult.com), which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite (www.scival.com) and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review (www.medai.com), which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC (www.reedelsevier.com), a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).