Study Looks At Effect Of Diet On Prostate Cancer Progression

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Submitted by The Baylor College of Medicine

saladsRecent studies suggest that nutrients found primarily in vegetables and fruits can help lower the risk of prostate cancer and possibly slow its development, and those diets higher in these foods and lower in fat and meat may provide some protective benefit against the disease or its progression.

A clinical study called MEAL (The Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) Study: A Randomized Trial of Diet to Alter Disease) is assessing whether a diet-based intervention to increase vegetable and fruit consumption can slow disease progression, and improve the quality of life for men with low-grade prostate cancer who are under active surveillance. Men are typically offered the option to undergo active surveillance if they meet very specific criteria, including the presence of a small low-grade tumor in their prostate. If there is a larger tumor in the prostate and/or the disease is of higher grade, then these men will likely be offered active treatment with surgery or radiation.

The active surveillance approach involves careful and close monitoring, and can postpone the side effects of active treatment, or even avoid those undesirable side effects. That is achieved by regular prostate exams and blood tests, and periodic biopsies.

With this approach, active treatment is not begun until the disease shows signs of growth or progression, and still allows the doctors and their teams to treat the disease while it is still in an early curative state.

Patients who enroll in the MEAL study are randomized either to a group that receives telephone-based dietary counseling and structured dietary education, or to a control group who receives a booklet on nutrition, exercise, and prostate cancer, but no ongoing dietary counseling.

Men randomized to the intervention group on the MEAL study will receive structured, individualized, one-on-one counseling achieved via half-hour telephone calls over a period of 24 months. The goal is to help them change their dietary patterns and to incorporate at least seven servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily.

“This study is the only open national clinical trial to assess a dietary intervention in this population, and has the potential to improve quality-of-life and the treatment of men with low-risk prostate cancer.” says Dr. Guilherme Godoy, assistant professor of urology and the principal investigator of the study at Baylor College of Medicine.

This study is open nationally through cooperative groups, such as CALGB and SWOG, and more information can be obtained at National Cancer Institute (NCI) website ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier: NCT01238172.

Baylor College of Medicine is one of the sites in Houston where the study is open. For more information or to participate in this clinical trial, please contact Charleen Gonzalez at 713-798-2179, or charleen.gonzalez@bcm.edu.