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Eating freeze-dried strawberries may help prevent esophageal cancer: study

04-07-2011 11:04 BJT

Freeze-dried strawberries may play a role in the prevention of esophageal cancer, a new study suggests.

"Strawberries may be an alternative or work together with other chemopreventive drugs for the prevention of esophageal cancer," said lead researcher Tong Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, division of medical oncology, department of internal medicine at the Ohio State University.

Study findings were presented at the ongoing 102nd annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Orlando, Florida, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Wednesday.

"We concluded from this study that six months of eating strawberries is safe and easy to consume. In addition, our preliminary data suggests that strawberries can decrease histological grade of precancerous lesions and reduce cancer- related molecular events," said Chen, who is also a member of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program in the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study involved a group of participants who consumed 60 grams of freeze-dried strawberries daily for six months and completed a dietary diary chronicling their strawberry consumption.

The researchers obtained biopsy specimens before and after strawberry consumption. The results showed that 29 out of 36 participants experienced a decrease in histological grade of the precancerous lesions during the study.

Using freeze-dried strawberries was important because by removing the water from the berries, they concentrated the preventive substances by nearly 10-fold, Chen said.

Esophageal cancer is the third most common gastrointestinal cancer and the sixth most frequent cause of cancer death in the world, she noted.

Chen and her team are studying esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) which makes up 95 percent of cases of esophageal cancer worldwide. China, where this study took place, has the highest incidence of esophageal SCC, according to the AAAS.

In a previous study, Chen and colleagues found that freeze- dried strawberries significantly inhibited tumor development in the esophagus of rats. Based on these results, they embarked on a Phase Ib trial that included participants with esophageal precancerous lesions who were at high risk for esophageal cancer.

"Our study is important because it shows that strawberries may slow the progression of precancerous lesion in the esophagus," Chen said.

But she said they need to test this in randomized placebo- controlled trials in the future.

Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua

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