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Impact of Nut Consumption on Outcomes in Patients With Colon Cancer

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018

Patients with stage III colon cancer who regularly eat nuts, particularly tree nuts, seem to exhibit better mortality rates and a lower risk of recurrence than those who do not, according to the CALGB 89803 (Alliance) trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study, authored by Temidayo Fadelu, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, and colleagues, emphasizes the importance of highlighting dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship.

“Further analysis of this cohort revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46% among the subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts [almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans] rather than peanuts,” said Charles S. Fuchs, MD, Director of the Yale Cancer Center and senior author of the study. 

Researchers studied 826 patients with stage III colon cancer for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. They found patients who consumed at least two 1-ounce servings of nuts each week demonstrated a 42% improvement in disease-free survival and a 57% improvement in overall survival (with hazard ratios of 0.58 and 0.43, respectively).

In addition, previous studies have reported that another health benefit of nut consumption may be reduced insulin resistance. “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin-resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Dr. Fuchs revealed. “However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.”

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