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Low-Carb Diet May Slow Prostate Tumor Growth

Mouse study could have implications for humans, researchers say

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In mice, a low-carbohydrate diet slowed prostate tumor growth, possibly because fewer carbohydrates leads to a drop in insulin production, U.S. researchers say.

"This study showed that cutting carbohydrates may slow tumor growth, at least in mice. If this is ultimately confirmed in human clinical trials, it has huge implications for prostate cancer therapy through something that all of us can controls, our diets," lead researcher Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

Previous studies linked insulin and a related substance called insulin-like growth factor (IGF) with the growth of prostate tumors in mice. Freedland and his colleagues theorized that reducing levels of these substances might slow prostate tumor growth.

They compared tumor growth in mice eating either a low-carbohydrate diet; a low-fat but high-carbohydrate diet; or a Western diet high in fat and carbohydrates.

Mice fed the low-carbohydrate diet had the smallest tumor size and longest survival, the team found.

""Low-fat mice had shorter survival and large tumors , while mice on the Western diet had the worst survival and biggest tumors. In addition, though both the low-carb and low-fat mice had lower levels of insulin, only the low-carb mice had lower levels of the form of IGF capable of stimulating tumor growth," Freedland said.

The study is published in the Nov. 13 online edition of the journal Prostate.

Freedland is currently organizing a clinical trial to examine the impact of a low-carbohydrate diet on prostate tumor growth in men.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Duke University, new release, Nov. 13, 2007

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