Clinical trial to assess impact of dietary change in men with prostate cancer

Published on August 6, 2011 at 1:21 AM · No Comments

Two researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have opened a clinical trial that will assess the impact of dietary change to control prostate cancer. The Men's Eating and Living (MEAL) study led by co-investigators James Mohler, MD, and James Marshall, PhD, is both the first to assess the effects of radical dietary intervention on men with prostate cancer and the only current clinical investigation involving men placed on active surveillance in lieu of active treatment for low-risk prostate cancer.

This multisite trial will test the results of assigning men with small, low-grade prostate tumors to an intervention designed to encourage a diet low in animal products. The MEAL trial is now open at RPCI and other sites through several cooperative oncology groups sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Mohler is Senior Vice President for Translational Research and Chair of the Department of Urology, and Dr. Marshall is Senior Vice President for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.

Their team will identify 450 men with prostate cancer from across the country, all considered to be at low risk for developing advanced prostate cancer. All participants will change their dietary intake, but half will more significantly change their diet, assisted by a telephone intervention.

Research has shown that a diet low in animal products like meat and dairy and high in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower incidence of prostate cancer. Drs. Marshall and Mohler and colleagues led a similar six-month pilot study launched in 2004.

"The MEAL trial promises to be a very strong study based in biological and behavioral changes," said Dr. Marshall, who is also Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention. "We've shown very convincingly with our pilot study that we can change men's diets — we can see the progress in diet records but, more importantly, by means of blood-based nutritional biomarkers."

The research is supported by the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense and The Prostate Cancer Foundation. The MEAL trial will have two important collaborators: J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, MHS, and John Pierce, PhD, both researchers with the Moores Center, UC San Diego.

"The most common question that a urologist gets from a patient who has low-risk prostate cancer is, 'Is there anything I can do to slow or stop its growth — should I change my diet?' And this trial should give us much clearer and perhaps even definitive answers," notes Dr. Mohler.

Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute

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