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High-Fiber Diet may Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Update Date: Jan 10, 2013 07:29 AM EST

A new study suggests that a diet high in fiber may have the clinical potential to control the progression of prostate cancer in patients who are diagnosed at the initial stages of the disease.

The background of the study has that the number of prostate cancer cases in Asian cultures is similar to those in Western cultures, however, while in the West, prostate cancer tends to progress, in Asian cultures it does not. Why?

The answer could be a high fiber diet, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research says. For the study, the researchers compared mice fed with inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), a major component of high-fiber diets, to control mice that were not fed the same food.

Then, with the help of MRI, the researchers monitored the progress of prostate cancer in these models, according to Medical Xpress.

"The study's results were really rather profound. We saw dramatically reduced tumor volumes, primarily due to the anti-angiogenic effects of IP6," says Komal Raina, research instructor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, working in the lab of CU Cancer Center investigator, Rajesh Agarwal.

The study revealed that the active ingredients of a high-fiber diet keeps prostate tumors from making the new blood vessels they needed to supply themselves with energy.  A lack of energy curbs the growth of prostate cancer. Similarly, the treatment with IP6 displayed the rate at which prostate cancers metabolized glucose. Possible mechanisms for the effect of IP6 against metabolism include a reduction in a protein called GLUT-4, which is instrumental in transporting glucose, the report said.

"Researchers have long been looking for genetic variations between Asian and Western peoples that could explain the difference in prostate cancer progression rates, but now it seems as if the difference may not be genetic but dietary. Asian cultures get IP6 whereas Western cultures generally do not," Raina says.

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