Prostate cancers are fewer, smaller on walnut-enriched diet

July 16, 2013

New research from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio indicates that eating a modest amount of walnuts can protect against prostate cancer.

The study is described in the journal Cancer Investigation. Researchers at the UT Health Science Center injected immune-deficient mice with human . Within three to four weeks, tumors typically start to grow in a large number of these mice. The study asked whether a walnut-enriched diet versus a non-walnut diet would be associated with reduced . A previous study found this to be true for breast cancer.


Three of 16 mice (18 percent) eating the walnut-enriched diet developed prostate tumors, compared with 14 of 32 mice (44 percent) on the non-walnut . Also of note, the final average in the walnut-fed animals was roughly one-fourth the average size of the that developed in the mice eating the control diet.

"We found the results to be stunning because there were so few tumors in animals consuming the walnuts and these tumors grew much more slowly than in the other animals," said study senior author Russel Reiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center. "We were absolutely surprised by how highly effective the walnut diet was in terms of inhibition of human prostate cancer."

Percentage of diet

The mice consumed a diet typically used in animal studies, except with the addition of a small amount of walnuts pulverized into a fine powder to prevent the rodents from only eating the walnuts. "The walnut portion was not a large percentage of the diet," Dr. Reiter said. "It was the equivalent to a human eating about 2 ounces, or two handfuls, a day, which is not a lot of walnuts."

Study co-author W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, published a study in 2011 that showed fewer and smaller tumors among walnut-fed mice injected with human breast cancer cells. Dr. Hardman formerly was a faculty member at the Health Science Center.

"The data to date suggest that using walnuts on a regular basis in the may be beneficial to defer, prevent or delay some types of cancer, including breast and prostate," Dr. Reiter said.

Explore further: Breast cancer risk drops when diet includes walnuts, researchers find

More information:

Related Stories

Walnut diet slows tumor growth in mice

January 25, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Mice genetically programmed to develop prostate cancer had smaller, slower growing tumors if they consumed a diet containing walnuts, UC Davis researchers report in the current issue of the British Journal ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.