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Garlic, Antioxidants Have Little Effect on Cancer Mortality

Elimination of Helicobacter pylori may prevent precancerous gastric lesions

THURSDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary changes that include the use of garlic and vitamin supplements do not seem to affect cancer survival or prognosis, according to two studies published in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In the first report by Steven Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Bristol in the U.K., and colleagues, a meta-analysis of 59 studies showed little evidence that antioxidants or retinol had any effect on disease-free survival, mortality or recurrence among patients with a previous diagnosis of cancer or those with precancerous lesions. There was not enough information to draw conclusions about other nutritional supplements.

In a randomized, double-blind, factorial trial, Wei-Cheng You, M.D., of the Beijing Institute for Cancer Research in China, and colleagues reported that long-term vitamin or garlic supplementation did not affect the prevalence of precancerous lesions or gastric cancer incidence. However, they found that eradication of Helicobacter pylori with antibiotics may prevent precancerous lesions from progressing into gastric cancer.

"Together, the two articles…well illustrate the contemporary status of chemoprevention: hard to summarize, many negative findings, but some hopeful nuggets of progress," states an accompanying editorial by John A. Baron, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H.

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