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General Cancer Abstracts

General Cancer Abstracts

Alternative Therapies & Cancer

Alternative Therapy

In a group of 81 parents of children with cancer, 65% used alternative therapy to overcome the illness. Most practiced were prayer, exercise, and spiritual healing among the group with cancer. Another group, the control, consisted of 80 parents of children attending a continuity care clinic for routine check-ups and acute care. Out of the control group, 51% sought the power of prayer, massage, and spiritual healing.

Friedman, Tracey, B.S., et al: Use of Alternative Therapies for Children With Cancer, Pediatrics, December, 1997;100(6):1-6.

Myths About Alternative Cancer Therapies Debunked

At a presentation of the American Cancer Society meeting Dr. McGinnis, a surgeon from Atlanta, stated several studies show unproven cancer therapies are more popular among affluent, well educated patients and some primary care physicians are supportive of their patients seeking these approaches.

The myth of the uneducated patient being lured by a "quack" is not valid. Nine percent of patients in an American Cancer Society unpublished study of over 5,000 patients use some form of alternative therapy and in other studies the figures ranged up to almost 50%.

In one study alternative therapy was recommended by primary physicians 35% of the time.

35% of the patients utilize alternative therapy without informing their physicians.
Mental imagery or some type of psychic therapy was used in over half of the cases of alternative treatments.

38% utilized diet therapies.

33% of the patients used drugs or electronic therapies.

The average cost over a year is less than $1,000.00 and there is less stress associated with it and usually slight improvement reported by the patient.

25% receive some type of insurance reimbursement. Only 5% drop out of conventional methods all together.

"Myths About Alternative Cancer Therapies Debunked", Family Practice News, September 1-14, 1990;10.

Bacteria & Cancer

Since the early 20's a small group of researchers have isolated pleomorphic bacteria from the blood and tumors of humans and animals with cancer. They are believed to be cell wall deficient bacteria and are regularly seen in cancer patients under dark field microscopy. The bacteria can be injected into experimental animals and induce cancer. Some cancers have been prevented by prevaccination of the killed bacteria in animal models.

These bacteria produce a protein similar to chorionic gonadotropin hormone which protects trophoblastic and cancer cells from immune recognition. A plasmid may be responsible for this property. These bacteria may be associated with retrovirus.

"Cancer and Cell Wall Deficient Bacteria", Macomber, P.B., Medical Hypothesis; 1990;32:1-9.

Free Radicals & Cancer

Extensively reviews the role of free radicals on cancer and atherosclerosis.

Aerobic creatures are not only dependent on oxygen, but are exposed to it though, humans may be exposed to more oxidant stress. There is indirect evidence implicating reactive oxygen species in diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress may be a normal process of aging.

Oxidative stress can be measured by such techniques as breath pentane, electronic spin resonance and specific measures of base damage to DNA by mass spectrometry and other techniques. Important data will be revealed soon from large scale chemoprevention trials currently underway.

Free radical scavenging enzymes can be assessed and can compliment the more routine measurements of trace elements and antioxidant nutrients.

"Role of Free Radicals in Cancer and Atherosclerosis", Bankson, Daniel, D., Ph.D., et al, Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, June 1993;13(2):463-480.

Electrical Workers & Cancer

In a 1 year study from 1985 to 1986 in 16 states, occupational data reviewing 2,173 men dying of primary brain cancer and 3,400 who died of leukemia were matched to 10controls for each person and it was found those employed in an electrical occupation had an odds ratio of 1.4 for brain cancer and a 1.0 for leukemia compared with men of other occupations.

Brain cancer odds ratios were increased for electrical engineers and technicians (2.7), telephone workers (1.6), electrical power workers (1.7) and electrical workers in the manufacturing industries (2.1).

There was some evidence of excess leukemia among these same groups. The brain cancer death increase was seen most significantly in men 65 years of age or older.

Leukemia associations were only seen for younger descendants of electrical workers and for those with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

These studies support other reports of increased mortality from brain cancer among electrical workers but there is minimal support for the suggestion of excess deaths from leukemia in electrical workers.

"Mortality From Brain Cancer and Leukemia Among Electrical Workers", Loomis, D P. and Savitz, D.A., British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1990;47:633-638.

Depression & Cancer

In over 2,000 patients' scores on The Center For Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, evaluated between 1971 and 1974, followed up after 12 years, 169 cancers were diagnosed among these individuals.

There was only a slight association with depression and cancer compared to the normal population, but there was a much stronger correlation between depressed cigarette smokers and cancer.

Depressed mood with the highest level of smoking was associated with a 4.5 risk for total cancer and 2.9 risk for cancers not at classic smoking sites. There was an 18.5 relative risk at sites associated with smoking.

"Depressed Mood and Development of Cancer", Linkins, Robert and Comstock, George W., The American Journal of Epidemiology, 1990; 132(5):962-970.

Leukemia & Cancer

Children with cancer represent a high-risk group for protein-energy malnutrition due to side effects associated with treatment. Assessment of nutritional status at the time of diagnosis and during treatment is, therefore, essential for planning nutritional intervention.

Mild/moderate malnutrition is common in leukemic patients at D/R and that PA seems to be the most sensitive indicator of visceral protein status.

Nutritional status of children with leukemia. Yu-LC et al., Med-Pediatr-Oncol. 1994; 22(2): 73-7.

Cancer Prevention


Resistant starch (amylomaize starch) may help to prevent colon cancer because of its beneficial effect on bacterial metabolism in the human colon. In 12 healthy volunteers on a controlled basal diet enriched with either amylomaize starch (high-resistant starch diet) or available cornstarch (low-resistant starch diet). During the high-resistant starch diet, fecal wet and dry weight increased 49% and 56%, respectively, whereas stool water content did not change significantly. During the high- resistant starch diet, bacterial beta-glucosidase activity decreased by 26 %. During the high-resistant starch diet, fecal concentrations of total neutral sterols decreased by 30% and fecal concentrations of 4-cholesten-3- one decreased by 36%.

Hylla, Silke, et al: Effects of Resistant Starch on the Colon in Healthy Volunteers: Possible Implications for Cancer Prevention, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1998;67:136-142.

Lifestyle Changes

It is estimated by lifestyle changes we may be able to reduce the risk of cancer by 70 to 80% in adult life. This may be achieved possibly by just modifying the diet and eliminating tobacco and alcohol.

Established dietary factors in cancer are excess calories, aflatoxins and salted Chinese food from south China.

Other risk factors include low fruits, vegetables, vitamins C and E, brassica vegetables, fiber, beta-carotene, and selenium.

Increased risks include consumption of nitrates/nitrites, meat and fat consumption and excess calories. Sunlight exposure, lack of circumcision, multiple sexual partners, lack of sanitation and exercise may also increase the risk.

"Lifestyle: An Overview", Doll, Sir Richard, MD, Cancer Detection and Prevention, 1990;14(6):589-594.

Magnetic Fields & Children

252 cases of childhood cancers were compared to controls with regards to home use of electrical appliances by the mother during pregnancy and by the child.

Prenatal electric blanket exposure was associated with a small increase in the incidence of childhood cancer and was more pronounced for leukemia.

Postnatal exposure to electric blankets was also weakly associated with childhood cancer with a larger but imprecise association with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Waterbeds and bedside clocks were unrelated to cancer incidence.

Electric blankets, a principal source of prolonged magnetic field exposure, were weakly associated with childhood cancer and warrant further study.

"Magnetic Field Exposure From Electric Appliances and Childhood Cancer", Savitz, David A., et al, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1990;131(5):763-773.

Malignant Melanomas

Malignant Melanoma Prevention

At the Second International Conference on Melanoma in October of 1989 it was accepted that the main cause of melanoma in caucasians was exposure to sunlight, especially UVB.

In a mouse model it was found that feeding omega-6 fatty acids could enhance tumor promotion as well as increase circulating prostaglandin levels.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced prostaglandin levels to normal. Other researchers found that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids had an inhibitory effect on photocarcinogenesis and reduced the UVB-induced inflammatory response.

Antioxidant supplementation suppressed the tumor enhancing effect of omega-6 fatty acids.

A diet that will moderate the activity of the arachidonic acid cascade may be beneficial in suppressing the promotion of malignant melanoma.

Good antioxidant status, especially with regards to vitamins A, C and E, and the trace element selenium are important in cellular antioxidant systems.

Fatty acid supplementation from the omega-6 family just enough to meet the essential requirements results in the least amount of tumors. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet should be high. Fish consumption should be included twice a week.

"Prevention of Melanoma", Mackie, BS & Mackie, LE. Nutrition and Cancer, 1990;14(2):81-83.

Maxillofacial Cancer

Literature review of nutrition problems in patients with operable maxillofacial neoplasms.

Causes of malnutrition in head-neck tumours will be particularly examined: metabolic alteration due to the presence of neoplasm; the tumour being situated in the first upper respiratory-digestive tracts; the side effects of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy; the results of surgery and finally those of a late diagnosis.

Once clinical nutrition has been indicated by both clinical and biochemical parameters, a plan for the most frequently used pre- postoperative treatments is drawn up.

Disagreement is found between: enteral or parenteral, given advantages and disadvantages of both. The former is more physiological, less expensive and simpler to carry out while the latter permits a more individualised form of treatment and simplifies metabolic evaluation.

Treatment plan: parenteral in the preoperative phase and a gradual weaning from parenteral to enteral treatment in the postoperative patient.

Artificial nutritional therapy makes absolutely no difference to the prognosis but allows the patient to undergo the appropriate therapy.

[Clinical nutrition in maxillofacial cancer surgery. A review of the literature] Carbone-M et al., Minerva-Stomatol. 1994 May; 43(5): 239-46.

Radiation & Cancer

Radiation (1)

Late radiation enteropathy (LRE) is a serious disorder. Can alterations in proximal intestinal motility predict the clinical severity of this disorder?

Patients with chronic abdominal complaints after radiotherapy for gynecological cancer were examined

The typical presentation of severe LRE included: intestinal pseudoobstruction, malnutrition, failure of postprandial motility.

Severe late radiation enteropathy is characterized by impaired motility of proximal small intestine. Husebye-Eet al., Dig-Dis-Sci. 1994 Nov; 39(11): 2341-9.

Radiation (2)

Radiation therapy is frequently a primary or adjunctive mode of therapy in head and neck cancer. As the number of radiotherapy patients rises, the need for proper detection, diagnosis, and treatment of oral lesions likewise increases. These range from mild and reversible changes to severely disfiguring or life-threatening alterations.

The head and neck radiotherapy patient: Part 1--Oral manifestations of radiation therapy. Semba-SE. et al., Compendium. 1994 Feb; 15(2): 250, 252-60; quiz 261.


In light of the research in progress on the benefits of various phytochemicals in foods, it appears feasible that the chemical compounds from herbs also could be helpful in prevention or treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Dietetics professionals can contribute value in this area by talking with patients, keeping interested physicians informed, and maintaining information on alternative therapies.

Spaulding Albright N: A review of some herbal and related products commonly used in cancer patients. J Am Diet Assoc, 1997 Oct, 97:10 Suppl 2, S208-15.


Consuming a diet rich in plant foods will provide a milieu of phytochemicals, nonnutritive substances in plants that possess health-protective benefits.

Nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables contain an abundance of phenolic compounds, terpenoids, pigments, and other natural antioxidants that have been associated with protection from and/or treatment of chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension as well as other medical conditions.

The foods and herbs with the highest anticancer activity include garlic, soybeans, cabbage, ginger, licorice, and the umbelliferous vegetables.

Citrus, in addition to providing an ample supply of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and pectin, contains a host of active phytochemicals. The phytochemicals in grains reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Craig WJ: Phytochemicals: guardians of our health. J Am Diet Assoc, 1997 Oct, 97:10 Suppl 2, S199-204.

Body size & diet

Body size, diet

This study found a correlation between increased body size and the development of endometrial cancer. Additionally, those women who consumed less plant and animal fat and more complex carbohydrates exhibited a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. More than 330 histologically confirmed, primary endometrial cancer cases were compared to 511 controls. Subjects were between 18 and 84 years of age and of multiethnic origins. The odds ratio for endometrial cancer among women in the highest quartile of body mass index was more than 4 times that of women in the lowest quartile. Those who had endometrial cancer consumed a greater percentage of their calories from fat, and a lower percentage of their calories from carbohydrates than controls.

Goodman, Marc T., et al: Diet, Body Size, Physical Activity, and the Risk of Endometrial Cancer, Cancer Research, November 15, 1997;57:5077-5085.



Researchers have found that diets lacking in whole grains are linked to higher risks of stomach and colon cancer. Many other studies connect high-fiber diets with a reduced risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and coronary heart disease. In a 6-year study of over 65,000 women, those who consumed diets high in carbohydrates from white bread, potatoes, white rice, and pasta had 2½ times the risk for type II diabetes than those who ate a diet rich in high-fiber foods like whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta. The article also explains the biological benefits of whole grain carbohydrates. While low-fiber carbohydrates such as pasta behave like white sugar during digestion, whole grain carbohydrates add bulk and pass through the digestive system without being broken down quickly.

Foltz-Gray, Dorothy: Against The Grain?, Hippocrates, November, 1997;54-61.


Alcohol Consumption and Mortality

Those who drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing cancer during their lifetimes. Causes of death associated with drinking alcohol were cirrhosis and alcoholism; cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx and liver; breast cancer in women; and injuries and other external causes in men. The mortality from breast cancer was 30% higher in women who reported at least one drink daily than among nondrinkers. The overall death rates were lowest among men and women who reported about 1 drink daily due to alcohol's preventative effect on heart disease.

Thun, Michael J., M.D., et al: Alcohol Consumption and Mortality Among Middle-Aged and Elderly U.S. Adults, New England Journal of Medicine, December 11, 1997;337(24):1705-1714.



In a 1984 to 1986 study, pesticide exposure was linked to mortality from brain cancer among French farmers. The study, which analyzed the exposure index among male French farmers between 35 and 74, revealed higher brain cancer mortality rates than mortality for the overall population.

Viel, Jean-Francois, et al: Brain Cancer Mortality Among French Farmers: The Vineyard Pesticide Hypothesis, Archives of Environmental Health, January/February, 1998;53(1):65-70.

IP6/Liver Cancer

IP6/Liver Cancer

According to this study conducted on human cell lines in vitro, inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) inhibits the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. Upon treatment with IP6, the HepG2 cells (human liver cancer cells) had a decreased ability to form colonies, and the cancer cell line also differentiated into a less aggressive phenotype. These results indicate that IP6 may be an effective potential treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Vucenik I, Tantivejkul K, Zhang ZS, Cole KE, Saied I, Shamsuddin AM: IP6 in treatment of liver cancer. I. IP6 inhibits growth and reverses transformed phenotype in HepG2 human liver cancer cell line, Anticancer Res 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6A):4083-90

Red Wine

Red Wine

Resveratrol and quercetin, both phenolic compounds present in red wine, act together against cancer better than either resveratrol or quercetin alone. Resveratrol and quercetin each effectively inhibit growth of human oral squamous carcinoma cell (SCC-25) and DNA synthesis, but when combined, the inhibitory effects of the two compounds are increased. Diluted red wine, with only 1.6 microM of each of resveratrol and quercetin, had significantly more inhibitory effect on cell growth, DNA synthesis and changes in cell morphology than each compound alone or in combination.

Elattar TM, Virji AS: The effect of red wine and its components on growth and proliferation of human oral squamous carcinoma cells, Anticancer Res 1999 Nov-Dec;19(6B):5407-14

Green Tea

Green Tea

A component of green tea known as (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) inhibits the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting a type of enzyme that has been associated with cancerous growth. The cell-surface membranes of cancer cells contain high levels of an enzyme called tNOX (hydroquinone oxidase with protein disulfide-thiol interchange activity). Addition of EGCg from green tea inhibits tNOX activity and growth of cancer cells, even in the presence of oxidizing conditions. Researchers conclude that ECGg from green tea has anti-cancer properties that are unrelated to antioxidant activities.

Cutter H, Wu L, Kim C, Morre DJ, Morre DM: Is the cancer protective effect correlated with growth inhibitions by green tea (-)-epigallocatechin gallate mediated through an antioxidant mechanism?, Cancer Lett 2001 Jan 26;162(2):149-154

Antioxidants found in green tea are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream after ingestion, leading to a peak in blood antioxidants that may lower the risk for cancer. Researchers measured serum and urine antioxidant concentration after ingestion of green tea, using the ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) assay. Results indicated rapid absorption of green tea antioxidants, peaking in plasma concentration at 4% after 40 minutes. Clearance was also rapid, peaking after 60 to 90 minutes. The sharp increase in plasma antioxidants after ingestion may be adequate to prevent oxidative damage associated with cancer.

Benzie IF, Szeto YT, Strain JJ, Tomlinson B: Consumption of green tea causes rapid increase in plasma antioxidant power in humans, Nutr Cancer 1999;34(1):83-7



The carotenoid astaxanthin may help to combat tumors by stimulating the immune response, according to this study conducted on mice. Researchers gave mice astaxanthin mixed in a chemically defined diet and then innoculated the mice with tumor cells. Tumor size and weight were determined three days after innoculation. Mice fed with astaxanthin exhibited significantly lower tumor size and weight if supplementation had begun 1-3 weeks before tumor innoculation. Supplemented mice also exhibited higher activity levels of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and interferon-gamma production by tumor-draining lymph node. These results indicate that astaxanthin suppresses tumor growth by stimulating an immune response against cancer cells.

Jyonouchi H, Sun S, Iijima K, Gross MD: Antitumor activity of astaxanthin and its mode of action, Nutr Cancer 2000;36(1):59-65

Green Tea and Dosage Safety

Green Tea and Dosage Safety

Cancer patients may safely supplement with 1.0 g/m(2) green tea extract three times a day - the equivalent of 7-8 Japanese cups of green tea. Researchers tested the effects of different dose levels [0.5 to 5.05 g/m (2) once a day, and 1.0 to 2.2 g/m(2) three times a day] of oral green tea extract on 49 cancer patients. All cases of toxicity were caffeine related. Maximum-tolerated doses were 4.2 g/m(2) once daily or 1.0 g/m(2) three times daily.

Pisters KM, et al: Phase I trial of oral green tea extract in adult patients with solid tumors, J Clin Oncol 2001 Mar 15;19(6):1830-8

Tanning devices & Skin Cancer

Tanning devices & Skin Cancer

Tanning devices may heighten the risk for developing basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, according to this population-base, case-control study of 603 basal cell carcinoma patients, 293 squamous cell carcinoma patients, and 540 control subjects. Information was obtained from each person about their tanning device use, sun exposure history, and sun sensitivity. The results revealed that the use of tanning devices such as tanning lamps and beds correspond with an overall increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. These results were not affected by adjustment for history of sunburns, sunbathing, and sun exposure.

Karagas MR, Stannard VA, Mott LA, Slattery MJ, Spencer SK, Weinstock MA: Use of tanning devices and risk of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, J Natl Cancer Inst 2002 Feb 6;94(3):224-6