Researchers from the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College have determined that the risk of breast cancer returning is reduced if women consume a low carbohydrate diet. The study to be published in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention determined a dietary impact if the tumor tissue was positive for the IGF-1 receptor. IGF1 receptors have been determined in breast cancer tumor tissue and these receptors have been linked to treatment resistance. Diet has been linked to insulin activation. This study demonstrates that diet impacts on breast cancer prognosis and treatment and changes the action of a breast cancer tumor receptor.
“There is a growing body of research demonstrating associations between obesity, diabetes, and cancer risk,” said lead author Jennifer A. Emond, an instructor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. “There are similarities between the biological pathways that underlie all of these conditions, and there is some evidence to suggest that over-activation of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor axis, which increases the availability of IGF1 in the blood, may relate to a poor prognosis among breast cancer survivors.”
The women that took part in the study were part of a larger trial called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study conducted between 2001 and 2007.
“We found an association between increased breast cancer recurrence in women with a primary breast cancer tumor that was positive for the IGF1 receptor, which is consistent with other studies,” said Emond. “We further found that a decreased carbohydrate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer recurrence for these women.”
“There are still many unanswered questions regarding this study, including what type of carbohydrate-containing foods may be the most important foods that breast cancer survivors should limit,” Edmond said. “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.”
J. A. Emond, J. P. Pierce, L. Natarajan, L. R. Gapuz, J. Nguyen, B. A. Parker, N. M. Varki, R. E. Patterson. Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence Associated with Carbohydrate Intake and Tissue Expression of IGFI Receptor. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1218