Dietary Lipids and the Cancer Cascade

  • Steven K. Clinton
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 422)


Investigators have established a large database from epidemiologic studies and experiments in animal models which strongly implicate diet and nutrition in the development and progression of many human malignancies. Among the dietary components frequently associated with the cancers common to affluent nations are the concentration and source of dietary lipid. These data are of sufficient strength to have lead many expert committees and organizations to recommend modifications in dietary fat intake as part of population based cancer prevention programs. Whether a meaningful reduction in cancer incidence among Americans can be achieved through modification of dietary lipid is the subject of intense debate. The testing of dietary lipid and cancer hypotheses in human intervention studies, considered the definitive approach, has progressed slowly for many reasons. In particular, the expenses associated with large studies having sufficient power to detect an effect of diet on cancer incidence prohibit their implementation. In contrast to interventions with pharmaceutical or chemopreventive agents where intake of the drug is precisely controlled and compliance determined by an objective test (blood or urine drug concentration), assessment of adherence with nutritional interventions presents major obstacles. Instituting a change in dietary fat among individuals, objectively quantitating the change, controlling for changes in associated foods and nutrients over time are complex problems and the tools available to address these issues remain very imprecise. Many of the chapters in this volume focus upon laboratory efforts which will significantly impact upon our future ability to implement efficient and definitive clinical trials addressing the role of dietary lipids in cancer etiology and prevention. The elucidation of the molecular, biochemical, and cellular processes modulated by lipids will translate into novel assays to assess the intake of dietary fat concentration and fatty acid pattern. In parallel, these efforts will provide insight into mechanisms which link dietary lipids with the events associated with cancer initiation and progression. This chapter will briefly review the recent progress in understanding the cancer cascade and identify areas where dietary lipids may interact with these processes.


Breast Cancer Prostate Cancer Linoleic Acid Energy Intake Trans Fatty Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven K. Clinton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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