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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Veggies, fruit may ward off lung cancer


Bolstering the diet with fruits, vegetables and legumes rich in plant-based estrogens tends to protect against lung cancer, researchers report in an analysis published today.

Conducted by a team of cancer-prevention researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the analysis marks one of the few studies - and to date the largest - to examine dietary effects on lung tumor development. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States.

Plant-based estrogens, or phytoestrogens, come in three main classes: isoflavones, lignans and cumestrans, with isoflavones and lignans the most widely seen in nature. All act as weak estrogens with varying capacities to influence the life and death of cells.

Isoflavones, the most common, are found in a range of foods, especially soybeans, chickpeas, yams and red clover. Lignan sources include spinach, broccoli, tea, carrots and rye grains. Cumestrans are found in beans, peas, spinach and sprouts.

"Basically we found that people with lung cancer were less likely to consume these foods," said Matthew Schabath, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in cancer prevention.

Read more: Veggies, fruit may ward off lung cancer

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