Purpose Observational studies have reported increased colon cancer recurrence and mortality in patients with states of hyperinsulinemia, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and high glycemic load diet. Nut intake has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. However, the effect of nut intake on colon cancer recurrence and survival is not known. Patients and Methods We conducted a prospective, observational study of 826 eligible patients with stage III colon cancer who reported dietary intake on food frequency questionnaires while enrolled onto a randomized adjuvant chemotherapy trial. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we assessed associations of nut intake with cancer recurrence and mortality. Results After a median follow-up of 6.5 years, compared with patients who abstained from nuts, individuals who consumed two or more servings of nuts per week experienced an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for disease-free survival of 0.58 (95% CI, 0.37 to 0.92; Ptrend = .03) and an HR for overall survival of 0.43 (95% CI, 0.25 to 0.74; Ptrend = .01). In subgroup analysis, the apparent benefit was confined to tree nut intake (HR for disease-free survival, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.85; Ptrend = .04; and HR for overall survival, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.82; Ptrend = .04). The association of total nut intake with improved outcomes was maintained across other known or suspected risk factors for cancer recurrence and mortality. Conclusion Diets with a higher consumption of nuts may be associated with a significantly reduced incidence of cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon cancer.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00003835.