Eating walnuts altered gene expression within tumors of women with breast cancer, a new study reports.
In mice, eating walnuts has been linked to slower growth of breast tumors and reduce risk of mammary cancer, according to researchers from Marshall University. They conducted a small trial in which women with breast cancer were randomized to either eat a small amount of walnuts or not and the gene expression of their tumors monitored at biopsy and at surgery. As they report in Nutrition Research, Marshall's Elaine Hardman and colleagues found more than 400 genes whose expression was consistently altered among the women who had walnuts. These genes were enriched for ones involved in apoptosis and cell adhesion.
Hardman notes in a press release that additional, larger studies are needed of the nuts' effects.
The study was funded in part by the California Walnut Commission, which also provided the nuts.