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Risk factors for small intestinal cancer

The role of dietary fibre and other factors in the risk of small intestinal cancer has been unknown until now. Researchers have found that smoking presents a higher risk factor than diet.
Risk factors for small intestinal cancer
Scientists believe that male sex hormones are responsible for the predominance of small intestinal cancer in males. Phytoestrogens (plant-derived hormones) and dietary fibre have been found to fight cancer in animal studies, and both are associated with obesity.

The EU-funded OGAPEF (Obesity and gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas: The independent and joint roles of dietary phytoestrogens and fibres) initiative aimed to understand how dietary phytoestrogens, fibre and obesity contribute to risk for small intestinal cancers in men and women.

Project researchers investigated the interaction of phytochemicals with body mass index and the smoking status of individuals in the study.

The team wanted to find what effect diet, obesity and gut flora have had on the sudden increase in small intestinal cancer in recent decades. The research group then analysed dietary data from previous studies, including 501 polyphenol compounds from 452 plant-based foods.

They found no association between polyphenols, including phytoestrogens, and risk of small intestinal cancer. Also, obesity did not interact with dietary polyphenols and fibre on the risk of developing small intestinal cancer.

OGAPEF did observe, however, that obesity can be marginally associated with increased risk of intestinal cancer. Interestingly, the project found that smoking strongly affected the occurrence of cancer in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

The findings of this study add to our understanding of the risk factors associated with small intestinal cancer.

Related information


Risk factors, small intestinal cancer, dietary fibre, smoking, phytoestrogens, obesity
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