The consumption of just 2 ounces of walnuts a day for two weeks significantly changed gene expression and slowed growth in women with confirmed breast cancer.
Walnuts slow cancer growth by changing genes in breast cancer
The study (1) was part of a series of studies into breast cancer by Marshall University. In this study, women with breast cancer tumours had biopsies, and then again two weeks later. One group of women consumed walnuts, the other did not. The changes in gene expression were then noted by RNA sequencing expression profiling.
In all 456 identified genes were significantly changed due to walnut consumption.
Those genes specifically related to promoting apoptosis (cancer cell death), cell proliferation and metastases. Previous studies have shown walnut consumption slowed breast cancer growth in women and that walnut consumption reduced breast cancer risk (2).
Professor Elaine Hardman said that walnuts clearly can suppress growth of breast cancer tumours and increase survival. Linking gene expression with observational studies was an excellent example of modern science.
Walnut benefits in colorectal cancer too
This is not the first time that walnuts – important ingredient of the colourful Mediterranean diet, or Rainbow Diet – have shown anti-cancer benefits. In a seven-year study by the Dana-Faber Institute in Boston (2), stage III colorectal cancer patients who ate at least 2 oz of fresh walnuts per week had a 57% lowered risk of dying from the disease and a 42% lowered risk of recurrence.
Go to : Colorectal cancer and walnuts