Dr. Tong Chen of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute says each of the 36 study participants ate about 2 ounces of freeze-dried strawberries daily for six months.
Chen, along with researchers from China, obtained biopsy specimens before and after the strawberry consumption. The results show 29-of-36 participants experienced a decrease in histological grade of the precancerous lesions during the study.
"We predict that the majority of patients with precancerous lesions in their esophagus will develop esophageal cancer over subsequent decades," Chen says in a statement.
"Our study is important because it shows that strawberries may slow the progression of precancerous lesion in the esophagus. Strawberries may be an alternative, or may work together with other chemopreventive drugs, for the prevention of esophageal cancer. But, we will need to test this in randomized placebo-controlled trials in the future."
Risk factors for developing esophageal cancer in the United States, Canada and Europe include tobacco, alcohol and poor diet lacking fruits and vegetables. In Asia additional risk factors include eating salty food, food contaminated with various mycotoxins, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and thermal injuries due to the consumption of hot beverages.
The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 102nd annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
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