Flavonols and Isoflavones may protect women from ovarian cancer

August 27, 2008

     High consumption of two types of flavonoids -- antioxidant chemicals found in plant foods -- may help protect women from ovarian cancer, research from Italy suggests.
Dr. Maria Rossi, of Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri" in Milan, and her colleagues found that the women who took in the most isoflavones and flavonols were the least likely to have ovarian cancer. "On the basis of our findings and the relevant literature, we infer that isoflavones, and perhaps flavonols, may have favorable effects with respect to ovarian cancer risk," they conclude. Isoflavones are found in beans and peanuts, red clover, black Cohosh, wheat, and especially in soy. Flavonols are found in Green Tea, Cocoa, berries and red wine.
     Lab studies suggest flavonoids may also have cancer fighting properties in addition to their antioxidant effects, Rossi and her team note in the International Journal of Cancer.
The researchers compared flavonoid intake for 1,031 women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer and 2,411 women who had been hospitalized for acute, non-cancer-related conditions, categorizing them into five groups based on their intake of each of six different flavonoids.
     The researchers found that the women with the highest flavonol intake were 37 % less likely to have ovarian cancer than women with the lowest flavonol intake. High intake of isoflavones cut ovarian cancer risk by 49 percent. The study is published in the August 15th, 2008 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.