ASCOPatients with stage III colon cancer who have undergone surgery and chemotherapy with curative intent may have a higher risk of relapse and death if they follow a predominantly "Western" diet, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, said at the 2007 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting (abstract 4019).
"This is the first large prospective trial to look at how diet impacts colon cancer survivors, and while the results are preliminary, they are highly suggestive that diet may impact the outcome of these patients," said Dr. Meyerhardt, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The research involved 1,009 patients with stage III colon cancer who were participating in a randomized, phase III clinical trial of adjuvant chemotherapy. They recorded their dietary intake on questionnaires during and 6 months after chemotherapy, and were followed for a median of 5.3 years. Analysis of the questionnaires showed two dietary patterns: "prudent," characterized by high fruit, vegetable, poultry, and fish intake, and "Western," characterized by high intake of red meat, fat, and sweets.
Multivariate analysis found that patients in the highest quintile of Western diet had nearly a fourfold increase in risk of recurrence or death from any cause (disease-free survival), compared with those in the lowest quintile (HR 3.91, P < .0001). This diet was also associated with significantly lower overall recurrence-free survival and higher overall mortality. By contrast, the prudent diet pattern did not significantly influence cancer recurrence or mortality.