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close this book Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987)
close this folder The uses of food composition data
close this folder NCI food data needs: impact on coding systems
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View the document Introduction
View the document International research
View the document United States studies
View the document Local research
View the document Individual level
View the document Uses of food composition data
View the document Implications for infoods
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International research

International research

At the international level, NCI is supporting a variety of diet, nutrition, and cancer studies involving food composition data. The first study, now in progress in Puerto Rico, is examining the exposures of staple foods to high levels of toxic substances such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many Puerto Ricans derive a major source of their caloric intake from maize, which may be the principal vehicle for exposing the population to potential carcinogens.

Table 1. NCI-supported research projects

Principal investigator Project title Location Objective Rationale
Angel A. Roman-Franco Cancer Control Research Grant for Puerto Ricoa San Juan, Puerto Rico Obtain information relating to the degree of exposure of staple foods to high levels of toxic substances, e.g. pesticides and chemical fertilizers The bulk of calories comes from a single staple, which may be the principal vehicle for exposing the population to potential carcinogens
T. Colin Cambell Dietary Selenium and Cancera People's Republic of China Evaluate the role of dietary selenium as a risk factor for various cancers In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that Se supplements reduce the incidence of carcinogen-induced and spontaneous neoplasms
Li Ping Nutrition Intervention Triala Linxian, China Conduct intervention trials using micro-nutrients administered to oesophageal dysplasia patients and to a general population at high risk Segments of the population are known to have poor intakes of multiple micro-nutrients, which may correlate with cancer risk
Ruth M. Hicks Carcinogenesis in Human and Rat Bladder Tissuesa London, UK Compare the effects of promoters (e.g. saccharin and tryptophan) and anti-promoters (e.g. retinoids) on previously initiated human and rat bladder organ cultures This study will determine if the rat is an appropriate model for screening human bladder carcinogens
Olli P. Heinonen US-Finland Studies of Nutrition and Cancera Helsinki, Finland Determine whether beta-carotene or vitamin E supplementation is effective in preventing lung cancer in heavy smokers Dietary beta-carotene has been inversely correlated with lung cancer incidence in epidemiologic studies
Khursheed N. Jeejeebhoy Nutritional Assessment of Cancer Patientsa Toronto, Canada Assess the efficacy of three levels of nutritional support in maintaining lean body mass of patients with lung or colorectal cancer This study will provide insight into the nutritional aspects of patients with advancing malignancy
Abraham M. Nomura Cancer Epidemiology of the Migrant Japanese in Hawaii(b) Honolulu, Hawaii Distinguish the relationships between dietary habits and incidence of cancers in a migrant population Culture and environmental conditions have been found to influence cancer risk
Ritva Butrum Low Fat Diet in Women with Stage II Breast Cancerb Boston, Mass.; Atlanta, Gal; Los Angeles, Calif.; Iowa City, Iowa; Chicago, 111.; Houston, Tex.; New York, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa. Identify the effect of a low-fat diet on disease relapse and overall survival in stage II breast-cancer patients Epidemiologic and case-control studies have linked a high-fat diet to increased incidence and mortality from breast cancer
Low Fat Diet in Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancerb Houston, Tex.; Seattle, Wash.; Cincinnati, Ohio Evaluate whether manipulation of dietary fat will slow or halt the "promotion" phase of carcinogenesis Reduction of dietary fat, even if done late in the promotion phase, has resulted in a reduction of breast-cancer incidence in animal models
P. J. Van Soest, J. A. Marlett Methodology and Analysis of Fiber Components in Foodb Ithaca, N.Y.; Madison, Wis. Develop methods for fibre analysis and analyse total fibre and individual dietary fibre components in US foods A reliable data base of total dietary fibre and fibre fractions is needed for NCI studies
Phyllis E. Brown Adenomatous Colonic Polyps, A Vitamers and MFO Inductionb Chicago, III. Assess the efficacy of using beta carotene to inhibit colonic polyps and/or colonic cancer Epidemiologic and laboratory research have demonstrated the preventive effects of carotenoids
A. R. Patel Dietary Markers for Epidemiologic Studies of Cancerb To be determined Identify markers of past or present dietary exposure Markers will be useful in validating or conducting nutritionally focused studies in cancer epidemiology
C. Butterworth, R. Riviln Clinical Nutrition Research Units (CNRUs) Birmingham, Ala.; New York, N.Y. Stimulate multi-disciplinary research, education, and training in nutrition Co-ordinated effort, intellectual stimulation, and use of shared resources can funkier our knowledge of nutrition and cancer
Paul Van Nevel Cancer Prevention Awareness Program: Nutrition and Cancerb Bethesda, Md. Stimulate public awareness of the relationship between specific dietary patterns and cancer risk Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence provides support for interim guidelines on diet and cancer

a. Research at the international level. b. Research at the national level. c. Research at the local level. d. Research at the individual level.

NCI also is supporting a number of studies in China, where the unique distribution of nutrients in the soil provides a natural laboratory for studying disease. For example, areas of the terrain differ widely in selenium content, and evidence exists that selenium deficiency may be associated with increased cancer risk. Another prevention intervention study in China involves administering multiple vitamin/mineral preparations containing beta-carotene to oesophageal dysplasia patients. Although a rare tumour in the United States, 20 per cent of the deaths in Linxian, China, are due to oesophageal cancer. A prominent part of the population's diet consists of pickled foods, which are suspected to produce carcinogens over time. It has been suggested that the micronutrient deficiencies, in combination with the carcinogenic substances, lead to cancer. A second, related trial involves administering a series of micro-nutrients to a general Chinese population using a multi-factorial design.

Among the international laboratory studies being supported by NCI is a project that began by looking at the possible cancer-promoting effects of saccharin and tryptophan in human and rat bladder tissues. The London researchers now are comparing the effects of these cancer promoters to anti-promoters such as retinoids, and are gearing up for human prevention studies.

Finland provides a unique resource for studying the intervention of beta-carotene and vitamin E in a population of heavy smokers. Because of the country's past problems with tuberculosis, its public health service requires every male smoker to have an annual chest X-ray. This practice provides an opportunity to superimpose a low-cost nutritional intervention study into a system which already provides population surveillance, and good record-keeping. The five-year, double-blind randomized trial will also include a dietary survey of persons from the original cohort who subsequently developed cancer.

With respect to cancer treatment, researchers in Toronto, Canada, are studying perturbations of various nutritional parameters in breast and lung cancer patients, and are examining whether these deficiencies are correctable with existing methods of nutritional intervention. Investigators are applying expertise in nutritional assessment and in measurement of total body nitrogen with neutron activation.