Reducing carbohydrate intake could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence among women whose tumor tissue is positive for the IGF-1 receptor, researchers report. Using an unusual approach, this study assessed the combined association of two factors implicated in tumor growth, carbohydrate intake and IGF1 receptor status, to test whether activating the insulin/insulin-like growth-factor axis can impact breast cancer.
Since carbohydrates stimulate the biological pathway that can increase concentrations of IGF1, the researchers focused on carbohydrate intake. The women they studied were part of a larger intervention trial called the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study conducted between 2001 and 2007.
This is the first study to suggest that it might be possible to personalize recommended diets for breast cancer survivors based on the molecular characteristics of their primary tumor. Further research is needed to confirm these findings, and Emond notes that breast cancer survivors should not be concerned about dramatically lowering their carbohydrate intake based on this study.