Rapid Review Quiz: Diet and Nutrition Recent Studies

Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD


February 10, 2022

In a unique study, women who had a breast cancer diagnosis and ate nuts over a 10-year study period were found to have significantly better disease-free survival compared with women who did not eat nuts. There was also an improvement in overall survival, but this was not statistically significant.

The finding comes from a study of 3449 participants in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study in China. Patients were asked about consuming nuts (including peanuts and tree nuts, such as walnuts) 5 years after their breast cancer diagnosis. An analysis was conducted at 10 years postdiagnosis (and 5 years after the diet questionnaire).

The investigators report a dose-response pattern between eating nuts and risk for both breast cancer recurrence (P trend = .003) and overall mortality (P trend = .022); the lowest risks and the largest amounts of nuts consumed were linked. At the 10-year mark, there were 252 breast cancer–specific deaths. Among 3274 survivors who were recurrence-free at the time of assessment, 209 went on to experience breast cancer–specific events, including recurrence, metastasis, or mortality. Women who ate nuts had higher rates of overall survival and disease-free survival compared with nonconsumers: 93.7% vs 89% (P = .003) and 94.1% vs 86.2% (P < .001), respectively.

Patients who consumed nuts generally had more education, a younger age at diagnosis, higher income, higher total energy intake, higher diet quality score, lower body mass index, earlier-stage cancers, higher soy food intake, and more physically active lives, and they were more likely to have received immunotherapy. Even so, after adjustment for many confounding factors, nut consumption was associated with significantly better disease-free survival but a nonsignificantly improved overall survival: (hazard ratio, 0.52 [95% CI, 0.35-0.75] and 0.90 [95% CI, 0.66-1.23], respectively).

Learn more about breast cancer practice essentials.

This Fast Five Quiz was excerpted and adapted from the Medscape articles Coffee or Tea? Drinking Both Tied to Lower Stroke, Dementia Risk; Cyclic Fasting Helps in Cancer Patients, Early Results Show; Olive Oil Intake Tied to Reduced Mortality; Does Eating Nuts Lead to Better Breast Cancer Outcomes?; and AHA Guidance Provides 10 Evidence-Based Diet Recommendations.

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