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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Publish Paper on Connection Between Dietary Patterns and Cancer Risk

University of South Carolina researchers Dr. Susan Steck, a professor in the Arnold School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Dr. Angela Murphy, an associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, have published a paper on dietary patterns and cancer risk. They were invited to write the review paper by Nature Reviews Cancer, a journal with an impact factor of 51.8.

“Certain dietary factors have been associated with cancer risk, but the correlation between those factors and their interactions with each other can complicate the understanding of their individual benefits or harms,” says Dr. Steck. “Examining the diets as a whole, which is what is done in dietary patterns research, could yield even stronger associations, which may be more readily translated into dietary guidelines.”

The authors summarize the current state of the field, providing an appraisal of new developments and identifying priority areas for future research. Through the existing research, they found an underlying theme: the effectiveness of different dietary pattern recommendations in reducing cancer risk could depend on the type of cancer or on other risk factors (e.g., family history, sex, age, lifestyle factors, comorbidities, metabolomic signatures, gut microbiota profiles).

“The epidemiologic literature is becoming saturated with studies of dietary patterns and cancer, and new dietary patterns are being developed rapidly,” says Dr. Steck. “However, major questions remain as to whether it is possible to recommend one overall ‘healthy’ dietary pattern for cancer prevention or whether different diets should be recommended for the prevention of different types of cancer.”

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