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Gene-Diet Link May Shield Some Men From Prostate Cancer

Antioxidants from food especially helpful in 25% of men, study suggests

THURSDAY, March 24, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Men with a common gene variation may be able to reduce their prostate cancer risk simply by altering their diet to include more antioxidants, a new study suggests.

The study of more than 1,000 men found that about 25 percent of them carried the AA gene variant of a specific gene called MnSOD.

"Specifically, we found that men carrying the AA genotype are more susceptible to prostate cancer if their antioxidant levels are low," study leader Dr. Haojie Li, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"The good news is that if these men get adequate antioxidants from food and possibly from supplements, they seem to be even more likely to benefit from the nutrients' cancer fighting properties than other men," Li said.

In men with the AA gene variant, increased levels of selenium, vitamin E and the tomato pigment lycopene greatly reduced prostate cancer risk, the researchers report in the current issue of Cancer Research.

The effect was weak in men who carried other variants (VV or VA) of the MnSOD gene, however.

Previous research in breast cancer has linked similar interactions between variations in the MnSOD gene and dietary antioxidant.

"Our findings suggest that certain individuals are more sensitive to antioxidant status," Li said.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, March 14, 2005
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