Clinical trial reveals low-fat diet is associated with reduced pancreatic cancer incidence in overweight women

November 7, 2017 by Allison Mickey, Baylor College of Medicine

In a trailblazing clinical trial, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have released the findings of the impact a low-fat diet has on pancreatic cancer risk in postmenopausal women. The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification randomized clinical trial enrolled 48,835 postmenopausal , aged 50 to 79 years, from 1993 to 1998. All of the women originally involved in the clinical trial had diets consisting of high-fat foods at the time of enrollment. Women in the trial were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the usual diet comparison group. The goal of the intervention group was to reduce fat intake and increase the intake of vegetables, fruits and grains, with intervention ending in 2005.

Using this cohort, the research team identified a subset 46,200 women and examined the effect of low-fat diets on cancer incidence as a non-primary outcome of this trial.

"Based on previous observational studies, we knew diet may play a role in the risk for pancreatic cancer in both men and women," said Dr. Li Jiao, associate professor of medicine-gastroenterology at Baylor and first and corresponding author on the paper. "However, there has been no clinical trial designed to answer the question on whether changing diet can modify risk of pancreatic cancer. In order to address this question in the real world, we analyzed the Women's Health Initiative-diet modification cohort, given its large size and long follow-up time. The follow-up for pancreatic cancer is through 2014 for our analysis."

After 15 years of follow-up, 92 pancreatic cases were identified in the intervention group, and 165 in the comparison group. The incidence of pancreatic cancer was lower in the intervention group than in the comparison group (35 per 100,000 versus 41 per 100,000 people per year).

"Our analysis revealed that intervening with a low-fat diet was particularly effective in reducing pancreatic cancer risk in overweight and obese postmenopausal women. Those who were in the had significantly reduced risk of pancreatic compared to the comparison group," said Jiao, who also is a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. "These results are in line with previous observational studies and dietary guidelines, and the clinical trial provides additional evidence that a low-fat diet may be an effective preventative measure for this disease in women. However, our study findings may not be generalizable to men."

Furthermore, reduced risk was not observed in with a body mass index of lower than 25kg/m2, suggesting these women may have metabolic differences that should be explored in the future. It is noted that the sample size was small in this subgroup analysis.

The research team hopes these results will motivate at-risk women to develop a healthy, balanced diet as a preventative measure against and other inflammatory conditions.

Explore further: Low fat diet helps postmenopausal women avoid deadly breast cancers

More information: Li Jiao et al. Low-fat Dietary Pattern and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Randomized Controlled Trial, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2017). DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djx117

Related Stories

Low fat diet helps postmenopausal women avoid deadly breast cancers

April 15, 2016
Women who stayed on a low fat diet for approximately eight years reduced their risk of death from invasive breast cancers and improved their survival rates when compared with women who had not followed the dietary regimen, ...

Weight-loss surgery may curb risk for certain cancers

October 17, 2017
(HealthDay)—Weight-loss surgery could help some severely obese people reduce their risk for cancer by at least 33 percent, a new study suggests.

Bariatric surgery lowers cancer risk for severely obese patients

October 6, 2017
Severely obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery lower their risk of developing cancer by at least a third, according to a University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine researcher leading a large retrospective cohort ...

Researchers find magnesium intake may be beneficial in preventing pancreatic cancer

December 18, 2015
Indiana University researchers have found that magnesium intake may be beneficial in preventing pancreatic cancer.

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Recommended for you

Study finds melanoma biomarkers predicting checkpoint blocker response

July 18, 2018
Scientists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) have identified biomarkers in melanoma that could help tailor immunotherapy treatments to maximize the benefits for patients while reducing the likelihood ...

Link found between bitter-taste sensitivity and cancer risk

July 18, 2018
High bitter-taste sensitivity is associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer in older British women, according to researchers who conducted a unique study of 5,500 women whose diet, lifestyle and health has been ...

Scientists discover a mechanism of drug resistance in breast and ovarian cancer

July 18, 2018
There is a highly sophisticated way to treat some breast and ovarian cancers—a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, designed to exploit the very defects that make tumors with certain mutations especially deadly. Yet this ...

Research identifies new breast cancer therapeutic target

July 18, 2018
Research led by Suresh Alahari, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has shown for the first time that a tiny piece of RNA deregulates energy metabolism, an ...

Cancer patients may experience delayed skin effects of anti-PD-1 therapy

July 18, 2018
Cancer patients receiving anti-PD-1 therapies who develop lesions, eczema, psoriasis, or other forms of auto-immune diseases affecting the skin may experience those adverse reactions on a delay—sometimes even after treatment ...

Early supper associated with lower risk of breast and prostate cancer

July 18, 2018
Having an early supper or leaving an interval of at least two hours before going to bed are both associated with a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer. Specifically, people who take their evening meal before 9 p.m. or ...

0 comments

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.