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Low-Fat Diet Impedes Prostate Cancer

A low-fat diet substantially slowed the growth of prostate cancer in a laboratory experiment and researchers say the findings suggest eating lean could become a key part of treating the disease.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that human prostate cancer tumors grew only half as fast in mice eating diets with about 21 percent fat as in those eating diets with about 40 percent fat - the level eaten by many American men.

A report on the study will appear today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“What we found was astonishing to us,” Dr. William R. Fair of Sloan-Kettering said Tuesday.

“Tumors didn’t disappear, but the decrease in growth was really impressive.”

Prostate cancer generally is slow growing, said Fair, and if it can be slowed more “then it is possible that many men wouldn’t need anything more than dietary manipulation.”

Most prostate cancers develop around the age of 60, said Fair, and “if we are able to a tell a 60-year-old that he could do something to slow growth of the cancer for 30 years, that’s the same as a cure for most men.”

Tumor growth was 2-1/2 times greater in mice on a 40.5 percent fat diet than for mice on a 2.3 percent fat diet.

For mice on a 21.2 percent fat diet, the tumor growth was about half that of the mice on the highest-fat diet.

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