| NEW YORK
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Long-term adherence to a
low-fat diet may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, according
to the results of the Women's Health Initiative Dietary
Modification trial, which involved nearly 50,000 postmenopausal
"While other studies have examined the association between
dietary fat and the incidence of cancer, including cancer of
the ovary, among postmenopausal women, this is the first study
to randomly assign women to a low-fat eating pattern or their
usual diet and to compare cancer incidence between the two
groups," lead author Dr. Ross L. Prentice told Reuters Health.
Dr. Prentice, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined the occurrence of
ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and total
invasive cancer in 48,835 women randomly assigned to receive
the Dietary Modification intervention or a usual diet. The
subjects were followed, on average, for 8 years.
The goal of the Dietary Modification intervention is to
increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the
diet and to decrease the total fat intake to 20 percent of
calories, the researchers note in the Journal of the National
Cancer Institute for October 17.
The Dietary Modification intervention appeared to reduce
the risk of ovarian cancer, but only with long-term adherence.
In the first 4 years of the study, the two groups had cancer
rates that were comparable.
By contrast, in the next 4 years of the study, the
intervention group had a rate of 38 cases per 1000 persons per
year compared with a rate of 0.64 per 1000 person per in
The Dietary Modification intervention did not affect the
risk of endometrial cancer, but may have slightly reduced the
risk of breast cancer and total invasive cancer.
"The take-home message for the practicing clinician is that
encouraging postmenopausal female patients to undertake a
change to a low-fat diet likely will reduce ovarian cancer
risk, and may also reduce the risk of breast cancer and total
invasive cancer," Prentice said.
"Ongoing nonintervention follow-up of trial participants
may provide additional valuable assessment of the effects of a
low-dietary pattern on these and other cancer incidence rates,"
the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute for
October 17, 2007.