Diet, nutrition, and cancer prevention: the postgenomic era

J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11 Suppl 1):3830S-3836S. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.11.3830S.


The genomic era of human nutrition is upon us: the human genome and several plant genomes have been characterized, and genetically modified foods are now abundantly available in the marketplace. The link between diet and cancer is well established, and new genomic technologies have made possible the investigation of nutritional modulation of the carcinogenesis pathway with nutrients, micronutrients, and phytochemicals. Current study of nutrient-modulated carcinogenesis involves exploring the effect of nutrients on DNA damage and repair mechanisms; DNA methylation, which influences gene expression and cellular phenotypes; antioxidant rearranging and oxidative stress; target receptors and signal transduction pathways; cell cycle controls and check points; apoptosis; and antiangiogenic processes. With nutritional genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, scientists are able to simultaneously elucidate the biological effects of dietary constituents on cell function and global gene expression. This generation of new knowledge on nutrient-gene interactions provides the justification for a research framework for diet and cancer prevention that is focused on identifying and developing new biomarkers as well as a novel and contemporary paradigm for dietary intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Food Industry / standards
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Requirements