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What We Know About the Association Among Diet, the Microbiome, and Multiple Myeloma

By: Joshua Swore, PhD
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2023

A comprehensive guide to the impact of diet on the gut microbiome and its impact on multiple myeloma incidence, quality of life, and outcome has been published in the journal Leukemia. “Although [multiple myeloma] remains incurable for the majority, treatments continue to improve longevity, and a subset of patients may be cured,” said Urvi A. Shah, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues. “As [multiple myeloma] patients live longer, it is increasingly important to address dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to morbidity and mortality.”

The article first addresses the overall dietary patterns and risk of multiple myeloma. The authors identified several studies that found lower cancer incidence in vegetarians, vegans, and pescatarians compared with people who included red meat in their diet. Furthermore, consumption of fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, was found to increase butyrate-producing bacteria, which decreased the incidence of multiple myeloma, the investigators noted. Conversely, red meat consumption may disrupt the gut microbiota, potentially promoting cancer development, they added.

The investigators also looked at supplement intake, which may improve the quality of life for many patients with multiple myeloma. Vitamins A, C, and D may be able to reduce inflammation and inhibit cancer growth. The authors noted that intake of supplements has yielded mixed results and requires further research before firm conclusions can be drawn. Many studies cited in the article reported a significant link between the microbiome and treatment outcomes, suggesting that patients with a healthy microbiome may have better outcomes. The authors concluded that although more research is necessary, diets that promote a healthy microbiome may ultimately reduce the incidence of multiple myeloma and improve treatments for patients with the disease.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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