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Nutrients. 2010 Feb;2(2):99-115. doi: 10.3390/nu2020099. Epub 2010 Jan 28.

Assessment of information to substantiate a health claim on the prevention of prostate cancer by lignans.

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  • 1Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, 20014, Finland. nisaarin@utu.fi


Lignans and their in vivo metabolites, especially enterolactone (ENL), have attracted substantial interest as potential chemopreventive agents for prostate cancer. Preclinical and clinical interventions performed with lignan-rich flaxseed that use surrogate biomarkers as endpoints suggest that lignans may attenuate prostate carcinogenesis in individuals with increased risk or with diagnosed cancer. No unequivocal prostate cancer risk reduction has been found for lignans in epidemiological studies, suggesting that lignan concentrations found in populations consuming a regular non-supplemented diet are not chemopreventive in prostate cancer. Presumably, the main obstacles in assessing the efficacy of food lignans is limited knowledge of the serum and tissue lignan concentrations required for the putative prevention. Further clinical studies performed with the purified compounds are required to substantiate a health claim.


diet; health claim; lignan; phytoestrogen; prostate cancer; surrogate biomarker

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