Lessons learned from cancer prevention studies with nutrients and non-nutritive dietary constituents

Chung S. Yang, Jayson X. Chen, Hong Wang, Justin Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Epidemiological studies have observed the association between dietary patterns and the risk of certain types of cancer. Extensive studies have been conducted on the cancer preventive activities of constituents from food and beverages. While laboratory research has shown impressive and promising results, such promising cancer preventive activities have not been demonstrated in many human intervention trials. This article analyzes the major differences between these different types of studies and the limitations of these studies. Animal and cell line studies usually use optimal conditions in order to demonstrate the hypothesized effects, sometimes without considering the human relevance. On the other hand, some clinical trials were designed without a good understanding of the biochemical and pharmacological properties of the agents used. Lessons learned from these studies will be illustrated using vitamin E, β-carotene and selenium as examples for nutrients, and green tea polyphenols as an example for non-nutritive dietary constituents. From the lessons learned, we believe that more interdisciplinary collaboration and integration of laboratory and human studies would effectively advance the field of cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1250
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular nutrition & food research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


  • Cancer prevention
  • Nutrients
  • Selium
  • Tea polyphenols
  • Tocopherols


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