Cancer

Cancer

Currently the second-leading cause of death in the United States, cancer is a disease that causes abnormal cells to divide uncontrollably and can invade nearby tissues.

Research has shown that peanuts don’t just have one nutrient that can help in preventing cancer; they have many! Unsaturated fats, certain vitamins and minerals, and many bioactives with cancer-preventing qualities are all packaged into one peanut kernel.

There are many types of cancer that target different parts of the body, but components in peanuts may work individually or together, and in different ways, to prevent the progression of this complex disease.

Breast Cancer

A 2015 study published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation compared 97 breast cancer cases to 102 normal cases in Mexico. Researchers found that a high consumption of nuts including peanuts was associated with 2-3x reduced risk of breast cancer.

The Netherlands Cohort Study followed 120,852 men and women for 20.3 years. Researchers examined the association between diet and cancer. They found that peanut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of estrogen negative breast cancer—the type that is harder to treat. Further, for participants who consumed 10g a day or more, total nut intake decreased risk of estrogen negative breast cancer.

Colon and Colorectal Cancer

In parts of Iran and China, esophageal cancer is seen in high rates—ranking as the 10th most common malignancy in China.

Researchers from the Golestran Cohort Study in Iran enrolled over 50,000 participants from 2004-2008 to examine the relationship between nut intake and esophageal cancer. Participants who consumed the most nuts showed a 40% reduced risk of esophageal cancer compared to those who consumed none.

Researchers from the Yanting Cancer Hospital in China conducted a 2017 case-control study examining peanuts specifically. They observed that peanut consumption 1-3 times per week reduced esophageal cancer risk by 38%, while consumption 4 or more times per week lowered risk by 70%. In their conclusion, they noted that peanut production and consumption “should be promoted in high-risk areas in order to reduce the ESCC (esophageal cancer) burden.”

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the 7th leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. The Netherlands Cohort Study, which followed 120,852 men and women for over 20 years, found that consuming 5g (1 teaspoon) or more of peanut butter daily was associated with a significantly reduced risk of pancreatic cancer in men. A previous 2013 study from Harvard University showed that women who consumed peanuts/tree nuts 2 times or more per week had up to a 35% reduction in pancreatic cancer risk compared to those who consumed none.

A 2014 study reviewing the evidence surrounding nut consumption and cancer noted that several components in nuts like peanuts work in a synergistic way to block cancer cell proliferation. Further, some of the compounds may also act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Two of the compounds that play a role are phytosterols and resveratrol.

Phytosterols

The relationship between phytosterols and cancer have been extensively studied. Phytosterols are found in peanuts and are known to reduce bad cholesterol. Evidence suggests that they may inhibit lung, stomach, ovarian, prostate, colon, and breast cancers. Phytosterols may prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading, and may cut off the blood flow to cancers. One of the main phytosterols in peanuts is called beta-sitosterol, which offers protection from colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that phytosterols can reduce prostate tumor growth by over 40% and decrease the chances of cancer spreading to other parts of the body by almost 50%.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is another compound found in peanuts that has anti-cancer properties. Like phytosterols, resveratrol has been shown to cut off the blood supply to growing cancers and to inhibit cancer cell growth. In recent studies, it has shown promise in helping fight breast, lung, colorectal and bladder cancers. A 2017 study observed that resveratrol accomplishes this in breast cancer by preventing cancerous cell invasion. With a number of bioactives helping to prevent disease and promote health, peanuts can help pack a punch to fight cancer!

Sources

Cancer

Hashemian M, Murphy G, Etemadi A, Poustchi H, Sharafkhah M, Kamangar F, Pourshams A, Malekshah AF, Khoshnia M, Gharavi A, et al. Nut consumption and the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the Golestan Cohort Study. Br J Cancer. 2018 Jul;119(2):176-181. doi: 10.1038/s41416-018-0148-0. Epub 2018 Jun 28. PubMed PMID: 29950612; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6048068.

Fadelu T, Zhang S, Niedzwiecki D, Ye X, Saltz LB, Mayer RJ, Mowat RB, Whittom R, Hantel A, Benson AB, et al. Nut Consumption and Survival in Patients With Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance). J Clin Oncol. 2018 Apr 10;36(11):1112-1120. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.75.5413. Epub 2018 Feb 28. PubMed PMID: 29489429; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5891130.

van den Brandt PA, Nieuwenhuis L. Tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: The Netherlands Cohort Study. Cancer Causes Control. 2018 Jan;29(1):63-75. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0979-7. Epub 2017 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 29168062; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5752734.

Nieuwenhuis L, van den Brandt PA. Total Nut, Tree Nut, Peanut, and Peanut Butter Consumption and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in the Netherlands Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Mar;27(3):274-284. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0448. Epub 2018 Jan 22. PubMed PMID: 29358224.

Zhao Y, Zhao L, Hu Z, Wu J, Li J, Qu C, He Y, Song Q. Peanut consumption associated with a reduced risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: A case-control study in a high-risk area in China. Thorac Cancer. 2018 Jan;9(1):30-36. doi: 10.1111/1759-7714.12520. Epub 2017 Oct 4. PubMed PMID: 28976069; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5754291.

Yang M, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Wu K, Bao Y. Nut consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;70(3):333-7. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.66. Epub 2015 May 6. PubMed PMID: 25944181; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4892359.

Soriano-Hernandez AD, Madrigal-Perez DG, Galvan-Salazar HR, Arreola-Cruz A, Briseño-Gomez L, Guzmán-Esquivel J, Dobrovinskaya O, Lara-Esqueda A, Rodríguez-Sanchez IP, Baltazar-Rodriguez LM, et al. The protective effect of peanut, walnut, and almond consumption on the development of breast cancer. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2015;80(2):89-92. doi: 10.1159/000369997. Epub 2015 Jul 10. PubMed PMID: 26183374.

Falasca M, Casari I, Maffucci T. Cancer chemoprevention with nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Sep 10;106(9). pii: dju238. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju238. Print 2014 Sep. Review. PubMed PMID: 25210199.

Bao Y, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL, Wolpin BM, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Fuchs CS. Nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in women. Br J Cancer. 2013 Nov 26;109(11):2911-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.665. Epub 2013 Oct 22. PubMed PMID: 24149179; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3844914.

González CA, Salas-Salvadó J. The potential of nuts in the prevention of cancer. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S87-94. Review. Erratum in: Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2):447-8. PubMed PMID: 17125538.

Phytosterols

van den Brandt PA, Nieuwenhuis L. Tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: The Netherlands Cohort Study. Cancer Causes Control. 2018 Jan;29(1):63-75. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0979-7. Epub 2017 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 29168062; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5752734.

Woyengo TA, Ramprasath VR, Jones PJ. Anticancer effects of phytosterols. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;63(7):813-20. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.29. Epub 2009 Jun 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 19491917.

Touillaud MS, Pillow PC, Jakovljevic J, Bondy ML, Singletary SE, Li D, Chang S. Effect of dietary intake of phytoestrogens on estrogen receptor status in premenopausal women with breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2005;51(2):162-9. PubMed PMID: 15860438.

Awad AB, Chan KC, Downie AC, Fink CS. Peanuts as a source of beta-sitosterol, a sterol with anticancer properties. Nutr Cancer. 2000;36(2):238-41. PubMed PMID: 10890036.

Awad AB, Fink CS. Phytosterols as anticancer dietary components: evidence and mechanism of action. J Nutr. 2000 Sep;130(9):2127-30. Review. PubMed PMID: 10958802.

Resveratrol

Andreani C, Bartolacci C, Wijnant K, Crinelli R, Bianchi M, Magnani M, Hysi A, Iezzi M, Amici A, Marchini C. Resveratrol fuels HER2 and ERα-positive breast cancer behaving as proteasome inhibitor. Aging (Albany NY). 2017 Feb 26;9(2):508-523. doi: 10.18632/aging.101175. PubMed PMID: 28238967; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5361678.

Wright C, Iyer AKV, Yakisich JS, Azad N. Anti-Tumorigenic Effects of Resveratrol in Lung Cancer Cells Through Modulation of c-FLIP. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2017;17(7):669-680. doi: 10.2174/1568009617666170315162932. PubMed PMID: 28302032.

Alayev A, Salamon RS, Schwartz NS, Berman AY, Wiener SL, Holz MK. Combination of Rapamycin and Resveratrol for Treatment of Bladder Cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2017 Feb;232(2):436-446. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25443. Epub 2016 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 27225870.

Buhrmann C, Shayan P, Goel A, Shakibaei M. Resveratrol Regulates Colorectal Cancer Cell Invasion by Modulation of Focal Adhesion Molecules. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 27;9(10). pii: E1073. doi: 10.3390/nu9101073. PubMed PMID: 28953264; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5691690.

Wright C, Iyer AKV, Yakisich JS, Azad N. Anti-Tumorigenic Effects of Resveratrol in Lung Cancer Cells Through Modulation of c-FLIP. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2017;17(7):669-680. doi: 10.2174/1568009617666170315162932. PubMed PMID: 28302032.

Kim AL, Zhu Y, Zhu H, Han L, Kopelovich L, Bickers DR, Athar M. Resveratrol inhibits proliferation of human epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells by modulating MEK1 and AP-1 signalling pathways. Exp Dermatol. 2006 Jul;15(7):538-46. PubMed PMID: 16761963.