CAM During Cancer Treatment

Use of Complementary/Integrative Nutritional Therapies During Cancer Treatment: Implications in Clinical Practice

Nagi B. Kumar, PhD, RD, FADA, Keandra Hopkins, Kathy Allen, RD, Diane Riccardi, RD, MPH, Karen Besterman-Dahan, MA, RD, and Susan Moyers, PhD, RD

Benefits From Dietary Supplements

Some biologics and micronutrients have been identified as having the potential to prevent induction and inhibit the development of preinvasive and invasive neoplasia and its progression. Increasing evidence from animal research, observational human studies, and a few clinical trials suggests that some nutrients may indeed help prevent certain cancers or assist in cancer therapies.

The concept of cancer prevention using nutrients is based on evidence from human epidemiology, clinical trials, and studies of animal carcinogenesis models for cancer-inhibiting potential of these nutrients and nonnutrients derived from foods.

Basic research has identified nutrients as agents that are carcinogen-blocking, are antioxidant/anti-inflammatory, and are capable of inhibiting mutagenesis and hyperproliferation, as well as those that induce apoptosis or differentiation as critical characteristics for chemoprevention regardless of their specific molecular targets.

More than 40 diet-derived agents and agent combinations have been identified and are currently being evaluated clinically as chemopreventive agents for major cancer targets, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers.

Some of the most promising nutrients identified as chemopreventive agents include soy isoflavones, green and black tea polyphenols, curcumin, lycopene, indole-3-carbinol, vitamins D and E, selenium, and calcium.[16]

Conclusive evidence can be obtained only from well-characterized agents tested in suitable cohorts and using the same scientific rigor used to evaluate pharmaceutical agents and also using reliable intermediate biomarkers of cancer for evaluating their efficacy.

Cancer Control 9(3):236-243, 2002.

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