Trial to investigate whether a Mediterranean diet may benefit breast cancer patients

Women in Auckland who have received treatment for early stage breast cancer are needed for a trial investigating whether a Mediterranean diet improves health outcomes.

The trial is the first of its kind in New Zealand and is run by the Department of Nutrition at the University of Auckland.

The study investigators aim to test whether a Mediterranean diet helps those who’ve been treated for breast cancer to lose weight, reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and lower inflammation levels in order to improve overall health.

The investigators say obesity, metabolic syndrome and inflammation are all associated with increased risk of cancer development, progression and recurrence.

The study will also look at changes in gene expression that may occur as a result of adopting the Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet is plant-based and typically consists of a high intake of olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and red wine.

The Auckland study will involve 45 women aged 50 and over who have received treatment for breast cancer (grade 1 to 3).

Those in the study will be randomly split into three groups.  One group will be asked to follow a Mediterranean diet and will receive dietary support and information.

Another group will follow a New Zealand healthy eating diet with dietary support and information.  And the third group will continue with their usual diet.

The study will run for 12 months and body weight, blood tests, gene changes and quality of life status will be measured  at the start of the trial and then again when the trial ends.

For more information about the study, visit BCAC’s clinical trials page, the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, or contact Dr Andrea Braakhuis at Auckland University Nutrition Clinic on

12 February 2016

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