SOURCE: Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

January 19, 2010 11:15 ET

Diet May Protect Against Lung Cancer in Smokers

Scientists at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute Find Breakthrough on Lung Cancer

ALBUQUERQUE, NM--(Marketwire - January 19, 2010) - Leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins could serve as protective factors against lung cancer in current and former smokers, according to a study that is a first step in understanding a complex association. The study was led by Steve Belinsky, Ph.D. and other researchers at the institute in ABQ, NM. It was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appeared online Jan. 12, 2010, in Cancer Research (http://healthcarewealthcare.com/press-releases/2010/01/12/diet-may-protect-against-gene-changes-in-smokers/#disqus_thread).

Researchers examined cells that were coughed up by current and former smokers for gene methylation, a chemical modification used by the cell to control gene expression. Upon careful study of the cells and by comparing those cells with profiles of smokers' dietary intake of leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins, they found an association between those particular substances was associated with a reduced prevalence for cellular gene methylation.

As seen in previous studies, gene methylation is likely to be a major mechanism in lung cancer development and progression, as well as a potential marker for the early detection of lung cancer. Dr. Belinsky said, "This study suggests that diet and dietary supplements could help in preventing lung cancer."

In the study, slightly more than 1,100 current and former smokers from the Lovelace Smokers Cohort submitted sputum samples and completed questionnaires regarding their dietary intake. Most (75 percent) of the participants were women who had been enrolled in the study since 2001. Men were not enrolled until 2004. Previous studies have suggested an association between a low folate intake and increased lung cancer risk in current and former smokers. Higher folate intake has been associated with lower methylation of genes in colorectal tumors as well.

About Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) is a private, biomedical research organization dedicated to improving public health through research on the prevention, treatment and cure of respiratory disease. LRRI is committed to curing respiratory diseases through research aimed at understanding their causes and biological mechanisms; assessing and eliminating exposures to respiratory health hazards; and developing improved therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics. LRRI is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, employs 103 PhD level scientists, and is an $82 million company. www.lrri.org

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