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Vitamin D and flavonoids examined for impact on breast and ovarian cancers

oked at food intake surveys and ovarian cancer data from 66,384 participants in the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, which collected health data from 121,700 women over a period of 30 years. "This is the first prospective analysis of flavonoid intake and ovarian cancer incidence," Gates said.

Gates studied the association between flavonoid intake from food frequency questionnaires completed by the women in 1984, 1990, 1994 and 1998; and 344 confirmed cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed between 1984 and 2002. While there was a significant trend toward decreasing incidence of ovarian cancer with increasing total flavonoid intake, Gates warned that "because this is one of the first studies of the topic, this association needs to be evaluated in another prospective study population before conclusions can be made."

Gates also analyzed individual flavonoids to evaluate their impact on ovarian cancer incidence. The flavonoid kaempferol, which the nurses consumed primarily from caffeinated tea, broccoli and kale, was associated with decreased ovarian cancer risk. Women with the highest levels of kaempferol intake had a significant 38 percent decrease in ovarian cancer incidence, compared to women with the lowest levels of intake. Two other flavonoids, myricetin and quercetin, showed a possible inverse association with ovarian cancer risk, although the results were largely non-significant.

"The associations were stronger when exposure was defined as cumulative average flavonoid intake over a period of 14 years, which suggests that long-term intake of flavonoids may be important," Gates said.

But she cautioned that "these findings need to be confirmed by others before any public health recommendations can be made. However, if confirmed, consumption of flavonoids would provide another means for women to decrease their risk of ovarian cancer."


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Contact: Warren R. Froelich
froelich@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
4-Apr-2006


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