Dana Farber Webchat: The Latest in Ovarian Cancer Treatment & Research

The latest developments in ovarian cancer treatment and research are addressed in the video below via a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute webchat that was conducted on September 16, 2014.

The Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute conducted a live video webchat panel with Ursula Matulonis, M.D., medical director of the Gynecologic Oncology Program, and gynecologic oncologists Panos Konstantinopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., and Susana Campos, M.D., MPH. The live webchat was held on September 16, 2014.

The general webchat topics addressed by the Dana-Farber doctors are listed below. For your convenience, we also provided the approximate video start time associated with each discussion topic. The entire video runs 49 minutes and 20 seconds.

  • Various types/subtypes of ovarian cancer and treatment differences. [1:40 minutes]
  • CA-125 and other ovarian cancer biomarkers. [5:10 minutes]
  • Areas of ongoing ovarian cancer research. [9:28 minutes]
  • Ovarian cancer treatment alternatives to standard of care chemotherapy. [13:55 minutes]
  • PARP Inhibitors & Immunotherapy. [15:03 minutes]
  • Mechanisms to reverse platinum drug resistance. [17:15 minutes]
  • Correlation between ovarian cancer and HPV (Human papillomavirus). [19:30 minutes]
  • The use of clinical trials for the treatment of ovarian cancer. [19:43 minutes]
  • Stage 1 ovarian cancer prognosis. [21:47 minutes]
  • Gene mutations related to hereditary ovarian cancer risk. [22:55 minutes]
  • Treatment options for platinum drug refractory/resistant ovarian cancer. [25:27 minutes]
  • Treatment of BRCA gene-mutated ovarian cancer patients. [27:50 minutes]
  • Ovarian cancer prevention. [30:18 minutes]
  • Promising treatments for ovarian clear cell cancer. [31:43 minutes]
  • Proper nutrition during and after ovarian cancer treatment. [33:47 minutes]
  • Symptoms associated with an ovarian cancer recurrence. [35:06 minutes]
  • Ovarian neuroendocrine cancer. [36:16 minutes]
  • Small-cell ovarian cancer. [39:22 minutes]
  • Origin of ovarian cancer. [42:41 minutes]
  • Treatment options for isolated or limited recurrent ovarian cancer tumors/lesions. [45:26 minutes]
  • Closing: Most Exciting Ovarian Cancer Developments. [47:07 minutes]


National Women’s Health Week — Learn, Spread the Word & Join!

National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day each year. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to help women learn how to achieve longer, healthier, and safer lives.

NWHW1 logo

Beginning with Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 11, we celebrate National Women’s Health Week by encouraging the women in our lives – our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends, and colleagues – to take steps to live healthier, happier lives.

We know that women are often the ones who make sure that everyone – everyone else, that is – in our families are cared for. But too often, women put their own health last.

But the reality is unless you take care of yourself, you cannot really take care of your family. That means eating right, exercising, quitting smoking, and getting the care necessary to stay healthy. In fact, you can now use websites, apps, and mobile devices to help you track and manage your health.

Preventive services are critical to helping us stay healthy, but unfortunately they have not always been affordable. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it is a new day for women’s health by making it easier for women to take control of their own health.

For many women, preventive services like mammograms, birth control, smoking cessation services, and annual well-woman visits are now available without any out-of-pocket costs. Also, as of 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires most insurers to cover maternity benefits as part of the package of essential health benefits.

And insurers can no longer refuse women coverage just because they’re battling cancer or have another pre-existing condition – and they won’t be allowed to charge women more just because they’re women. Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.

It’s not just women with job-based insurance who are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. The law has greatly expanded access to quality, affordable health coverage to uninsured women and men. More than 8 million Americans – more than 4.3 million of whom are women – have enrolled in affordable health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Open enrollment begins again in November.


On Sunday, May 11, 2014, President Barrack Obama proclaimed May 11 through 17, National’s Women’s Health Week. National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. National Women’s Health Week also serves as a time to help women understand what it means to be well.

What does it mean to be a well woman?

It’s a state of mind. It’s being as healthy as you can be. And, most importantly, it’s about taking steps to improve your physical and mental health:

Check out the National Women’s Health Week infographics.


Download OWH’s National Women’s Health Week infographics.

How can you celebrate National Women’s Health Week?

The OWH invites women across the country to join in the celebration:

Download a copy of the National Women’s Health Week fact sheet.

Spread the Word

Spread the word about National Women’s Health Week to your mom, sisters, daughters, friends, and coworkers! Invite them to join in the celebration by using the resources below.


Join or plan a Meetup

Join us in celebrating National Women’s Health Week by hosting or attending an event in your area. This year, we’re asking you to register your National Women’s Health Week event with Meetup Everywhere.

Join the President’s Challenge

The President’s Challenge is the premier program of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition administered through a co-sponsorship agreement with the Amateur Athletic Union. The President’s Challenge helps people of all ages and abilities increase their physical activity and improve their fitness through research-based information, easy-to-use tools, and friendly motivation.

NWHW-infographic-well-woman-visitCelebrate National Women’s Checkup Day 

National Women’s Checkup Day is led by OWH. Our goal is to encourage women to schedule an annual well-woman visit.

A well-woman visit is a checkup. It’s a time to see your health care provider to:

  • Discuss your health habits and family history.
  • Get or schedule necessary screenings and exams.
  • Set health goals.
  • Schedule your well-woman visit every year.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s considered a preventive service and must be covered by most health plans at no cost to you. During your well-woman visit, you can receive many screenings free of charge, such as screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, cervical cancer, and more. And if your health care provider says you need more than one well-woman visit in a year, the additional visits are also covered.

When is National Women’s Checkup Day?

The 12th annual National Women’s Checkup Day is today, Monday, May 12, 2014, during National Women’s Health Week.

Why is it important for women to participate in this effort?

Well-woman visits help you get the preventive care you need, including screenings. Screenings can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. Screenings can also identify other problems and help lower your risk for many conditions, such as heart disease. Under the Affordable Care Act, many women can receive these services without paying a deductible or copay.

How can you participate in this important event?

There are several ways to participate in National Women’s Checkup Day:


Can A Diet Low In Carbs & High On Protein Help In the Fight Against Cancer?

Eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of tumors already present, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Gerald Krystal, Ph.D., Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia; Distinguished Scientist, Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency

Eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of tumors already present, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study was conducted in mice, but the scientists involved agree that the strong biological findings are definitive enough that an effect in humans can be considered.

“This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk,” said lead researcher Gerald Krystal, Ph.D., a distinguished scientist at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre.

Cancer Research editor-in-chief George Prendergast, Ph.D., CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, agreed. “Many cancer patients are interested in making changes in areas that they can control, and this study definitely lends credence to the idea that a change in diet can be beneficial,” said Prendergast, who was not involved with the study.

Krystal and his colleagues implanted various strains of mice with human tumor cells or with mouse tumor cells and assigned them to one of two diets. The first diet, a typical Western diet, contained about 55 percent carbohydrate, 23 percent protein and 22 percent fat. The second, which is somewhat like a South Beach diet but higher in protein, contained 15 percent carbohydrate, 58 percent protein and 26 percent fat. They found that the tumor cells grew consistently slower on the second diet.

As well, mice genetically predisposed to breast cancer were put on these two diets and almost half of them on the Western diet developed breast cancer within their first year of life while none on the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Interestingly, only one on the Western diet reached a normal life span (approximately 2 years), with 70 percent of them dying from cancer while only 30 percent of those on the low-carbohydrate diet developed cancer and more than half these mice reached or exceeded their normal life span.

Krystal and colleagues also tested the effect of mTOR inhibitor CCI-779 (temsirolimus/Torisel®), which inhibits cell growth, and COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex®), which reduces inflammation, on tumor development, and found these agents had an additive effect in the mice fed the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet.

When asked to speculate on the biological mechanism, Krystal said that tumor cells, unlike normal cells, need significantly more glucose to grow and thrive. Restricting carbohydrate intake can significantly limit blood glucose and insulin, a hormone that has been shown in many independent studies to promote tumor growth in both humans and mice.

Furthermore, a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet has the potential to both boost the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells and prevent obesity, which leads to chronic inflammation and cancer.

About the American Association For Cancer Research (AACR)

The mission of the AACR is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.


Lifestyle Matters: Dietary Factors Influence Ovarian Cancer Survival Rates

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers identify relationship between healthy eating and prolonged ovarian cancer survival

UIC researchers find that consumption of cruciferous & yellow vegetables provide an ovarian cancer survival advantage

Therese A. Dolecek, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Institute for Health Research & Policy, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago

A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), is among the first to evaluate possible diet associations with ovarian cancer survival. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) determined that there is a strong relationship between healthy eating and prolonged survival.

The subjects included 351 women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer between 1994 to 1998, who participated in a previous case-control study. The original study collected demographic, clinico-pathologic, and lifestyle-related variables including diet. Each subject completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in which they were asked to report their usual dietary intake during the three to five year period prior to their diagnosis.

To translate the diet estimates in a meaningful way, the FFQ items were assigned to the major food groups reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 (DGA), including fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy, fats and oils, sweets, and alcohol. Grains, meats, and dairy were further subdivided into “suggested” and “other” groups. The “suggested” subdivisions included healthier food choices, whereas the “other” subdivisions contained less desirable selections.

The researchers found that higher total fruit and vegetable consumption, and higher vegetable consumption alone led to a survival advantage. A subgroup analyses revealed that only yellow and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy) significantly increased survival advantage. At five years, 75% of the women who ate less than one serving a week of yellow vegetables were alive, compared to about 82% of those who had three or more servings of yellow vegetables a week.  Likewise, a statistically significant improvement in survival was observed for the healthier grains.

Higher intakes of less-healthy meats — specifically the red and cured/processed meats subgroups — were associated with a survival disadvantage. Notably, the researchers found a 3-fold increased risk of dying for those women who ate four or more servings of red meat a week compared to those who ate less than one serving per week over the 11-year study period.

A survival disadvantage was also observed in connection with consumption of the milk (dairy – all types) subgroup. Women who had seven or more servings of milk of any type per week were two times as likely to die during the study period as those who had none.  The researchers stress that the milk finding should be interpreted cautiously, because it may have something to do with the fact that some women are genetically predisposed.

Therese A. Dolecek, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute for Health Research and Policy, School of Public Health, UIC, and a member of the Cancer Control and Population Science Research Program at the UIC Cancer Center, and her colleagues state the following in the article:

The study findings suggest that food patterns three to five years prior to a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer have the potential to influence survival time. The pre-diagnosis food patterns observed to afford a survival advantage after an epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosis reflect characteristics commonly found in plant-based or low fat diets. These diets generally contain high levels of constituents that would be expected to protect against cancer and minimize ingestion of known carcinogens found in foods.

In an interview with WebMD.com, Dr. Dolecek said:  “To pinpoint exactly how much survival [was lengthened] is not possible. It varies from person to person.”  Many factors affect survival, such as the stage of the cancer at diagnosis and the woman’s age.

Cynthia A. Thomson, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson

David S. Alberts, M.D., Director, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona

In an editorial commentary in the same JADA issue, Cynthia A. Thomson, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, and David S. Alberts, M.D., Director, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, write the following:

The authors provide new evidence that dietary factors, particularly total fruit and vegetable, red and processed meat and milk intakes, may influence ovarian cancer survival. These findings corroborate earlier work by Nagle et. al. and are among only a select few studies of dietary associations with ovarian cancer recurrence and/or prognosis despite a significant and growing body of literature suggesting diet may influence ovarian cancer risk.

About The Journal of the American Dietetic Association

As the official journal of the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org), the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA) (www.adajournal.org) is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. JADA focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

About The American Dietetic Association

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) (www.eatright.org) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.


Libby’s H*O*P*E* to Present At NOCC 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo (REJUVENATE Finding Balance)

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. … On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. NOCC Rejuvenate is sponsored by the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Additional funding was also provided through a grant from the Maryland Attorney General Settlement.

NOCC Rejuvenate is designed to appeal to all women who want to rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit. The event is divided into three sessions. Each session offers seven to eight different seminars for attendees. The seminars address a variety of topics including make-up and skin care, going green, photography, plastic surgery, decorating, fashion, finance, retirement solutions, nutrition, fitness, and holistic approaches to wellness. A list of all event seminars is provided below.

Informative seminars about ovarian and breast cancer are offered as part of each session. Knowing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, the screening guidelines for breast cancer, and the basics about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, could save your life or the life of someone you love.  On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.  My presentation will address the genesis of the Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ website; highlight critical ovarian cancer awareness information; summarize available online ovarian cancer and cancer-related resources; describe stories of hope involving ovarian cancer survivors and their families; and explain how each individual can make a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer.

NOCC Rejuvenate also targets cancer survivors. The devastating effects of these diseases can rob women of hope and peace. This event will offer an opportunity for survivors to reinvent their self-image and gain more knowledge, offering a sense of hope and a chance to connect with other survivors.

An exhibitor’s area will be offered at the event. This area will include informational tables as well as vendor tables that have been specifically chosen to meet the overarching vision of the event. At the completion of the three event sessions, a nutritious lunch will be served while information is provided on the signs and symptoms of ovarian and breast cancer.

NOCC 6th Annual Women's Health Expo

What:  National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENTE Finding Balance (click here to view event brochure, including mail-in registration)

When: Saturday, March 20, 2010 (8:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.)

Where: Sheraton Annapolis Hotel, 173 Jennifer Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 (driving instructions).

Register: To register online click here.

Contact: Nancy Long (NOCC Maryland Chapter Co-President) at 443-433-2597, or email (click here).

Keynote Speaker:  Yarrow, The Energy Whisperer

Session I Presentations (9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.)

  • Treating Cancer By Alternative Medicine
  • The Survivors’ Connection
  • The Skinny on Fat – Cancer Prevention Naturally
  • Interior Design in Difficult Times – Cost Saving Design Solutions
  • Relaxation & Healing
  • Identifying & Solving the Challenges of Baby Boomer Women
  • Cancer and The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Belly Dancing

Session II Presentations (10:45-11:45)

  • Dr. Zandra Cheng, Breast Surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Hereditary Syndromes That Include Ovarian and Breast Cancers
  • Facial & Body Rejuvenation
  • A Patient Advocate’s Perspective On the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Related On-line Resources (Paul Cacciatore, Founder, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™)
  • Designing Green Interiors
  • Creating Better Images with the Camera You Own
  • Some Expert Fashion Tips
  • Yoga:  A Balanced Life
  • Relaxation & Healing

Session III Presentations (12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.)

  • New Advances in Ovarian Cancer (William McGuire, M.D., Medical Director of The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square Hospital)
  • What is My Daughter’s Chance of Getting My Cancer?
  • Planning for your Retirement Lifestyle:  The New Retirement
  • Super Health Begins with Super-food Nutrition
  • Around the World to Your Backyard
  • Balancing Your Life Wheel
  • Get Fit & Healthy with the Simple Rules of the Big 3
  • Relaxation & Healing

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the NOCC is to raise awareness and increase education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers. NOCC programs are possible only with the help of its volunteers; committed men and women dedicated to the mission of the NOCC in communities across the country.  For more information go to http://www.ovarian.org/.

About the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection

The mission of the NBOCC is to raise awareness and educate the general public about the link between breast and ovarian cancer. The organization is dedicated to teaching all women about their inherent risks and how to improve their chances of survival through early detection and research developments.  For more information go to http://www.nbocc.org/.

Take The “Check-Up Day Pledge” and Register For the “Woman Challenge” During Women’s National Health Week

” …Women are often the caregivers for their spouses, children and parents and forget to focus on their own health. But research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves. …”

National Women’s Health Week empowers women across the country to get healthy by taking action. The nationwide initiative, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOffice on Women’s Health (OWH), encourages women to make their health a top priority and take simple steps for a longer, healthier and happier life. During the week, families, communities, businesses, government, health organizations and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and prevent disease, like:

* Engaging in physical activity most days of the week;

* Eating a nutritious diet;

* Visiting a healthcare provider to receive regular check-ups and preventive screenings; and

* Avoiding risky behaviors, like smoking and not wearing a seatbelt.

It is important to celebrate National Women’s Health Week to remind women that taking care of themselves is essential to living longer, healthier and happier lives. Women are often the caregivers for their spouses, children and parents and forget to focus on their own health. But research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves. During National Women’s Health Week it is important to educate our wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and girlfriends about the steps they can take to improve their health and prevent disease. After all, when women take even the simplest steps to improve their health, the results can be significant and everyone will benefit. The 9th Annual National Women’s Health Week began on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2008 and will be celebrated until May 17, 2008.

National Women’s Check-Up Day is a nationwide effort, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, to:

* Encourage women to visit health care professionals to receive or schedule a check-up; and
* Promote regular check-ups as vital to the early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, and other conditions.

As part of National Women’s Check-Up Day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, provides a health checklist entitled, “Women: Stay Healthy At Any Age, Your Health Checklist.” Top health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest that when you go for your next checkup, you should use the health checklist and talk to your doctor or nurse about how you can stay healthy regardless of age.

The WOMAN Challenge, a free eight week challenge encouraging women and girls (ages 9 and older) to walk 10,000 steps a day or get 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Team participation is highly encouraged, so create a team with your friends, family or coworkers. The WOMAN Challenge is a great way to get the exercise you need while having fun and staying motivated. It begins on Mother’s Day, May 11, and ends on July 5, 2008.

Click Here to Take the “Check-Up Day Pledge”

Click Here to Register for the “Women Challenge”

“I’m Strongs to the Finish, ‘Cause I Eats Me Spinach”* — Popeye May Have It Right When It Comes to Ovarian Cancer Prevention

Brigham and Women’s Study Finds Eating a Flavonoid-Rich Diet Helps Women Decrease Risk of Ovarian Cancer –Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study

Boston, MA – New research out of the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) reports that frequent consumption of foods containing the flavonoid kaempferol, including non-herbal tea and broccoli, was associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. The researchers also found a decreased risk in women who consumed large amounts of the flavonoid luteolin, which is found in foods such as carrots, peppers and cabbage. These findings appear in the November 15, 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

‘This is good news because there are few lifestyle factors known to reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer,’ said first author Margaret Gates, ScD, who is a research fellow at BWH. “Although additional research is needed, these findings suggest that consuming a diet rich in flavonoids may be protective.”

The causes of ovarian cancer are not well understood. What is known is the earlier the disease is found and treated, the better the chance for recovery; however, the majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced (metastasized) stage after the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. According to the National Cancer Institute, the 5-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with localized ovarian cancer is 92.4 percent. Unfortunately, this number drops to 29.8 percent if the cancer has already metastasized.

In this first prospective study to look at the association between these flavonoids and ovarian cancer risk, Gates and colleagues calculated intake of the flavonoids myricetin, kaempferol, quercetin, luteolin and apigenin among 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. In this population, 347 cases of epithelial ovarian cancer were diagnosed between 1984 and 2002.

Although total intake of these five common dietary flavonoids was not clearly beneficial, the researchers found a 40 percent reduction in ovarian cancer risk among the women with the highest kaempferol intake, compared to women with the lowest intake. They also found a 34 percent reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer among women with the highest intake of luteolin, compared to women with the lowest intake.

‘In this population of women, consumption of non-herbal tea and broccoli provided the best defense against ovarian cancer,’ concluded Gates, who is also a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. ‘Other flavonoid-rich foods, such as onions, beans and kale, may also decrease ovarian cancer risk, but the number of women who frequently consumed these foods was not large enough to clearly evaluate these associations. More research is needed.’

The National Cancer Institute funded this research.”

[Quoted Source: “Brigham and Women’s Study Finds Eating a Flavonoid-Rich Diet Helps Women Decrease Risk of Ovarian Cancer — Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital Press Release, dated November 13, 2007 (citing findings from “A prospective study of dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of epithelial ovarian cancer;” Gates, M.A. et. al.; International Journal of Cancer, Volume 121, Issue 10, Pages 2225 – 2232 (November 15, 2007))].

Comment: In addition to spinach, foods richest in kaempferol include tea (nonherbal), onions, curly kale, leeks, broccoli, and blueberries.

* In 1933, Max and Dave Fleischer’s Fleischer Studios adapted Thimble Theatre characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. These cartoons proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and the Fleischers-and later Paramount’s own Famous Studios-continued production through 1957. Since then, Popeye has appeared in comic books, television cartoons, a 1980 live-action film (Popeye, directed by Robert Altman), arcade and video games, and hundreds of advertisements and peripheral products.

Early references to spinach in the Fleischer cartoons and subsequently in further stories of Popeye are attributed to the publication of a study which, because of a misprint, attributed to spinach ten times its actual iron content. The error was discovered in the 1930s but not widely publicized until T.J. Hamblin wrote about it in the British Medical Journal in 1981. Until that time, the popularity of Popeye helped boost sales of the leafy vegetable 33% in the U.S.