The Role of Diet in Prognosis among Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Dietary Patterns and Diet Interventions
Cancer survival continues to improve in high-income countries, partly explained by advances in screening and treatment. Previous studies have mainly examined the relationship between individual dietary components and cancer prognosis in tumours with good therapeutic response (breast, colon and prostate cancers). The aim of this review is to assess qualitatively (and quantitatively where appropriate) the associations of dietary patterns and cancer prognosis from published prospective cohort studies, as well as the effect of diet interventions by means of randomised controlled trials (RCT). A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, and a total of 35 prospective cohort studies and 14 RCT published between 2011 and 2021 were selected. Better overall diet quality was associated with improved survival among breast and colorectal cancer survivors; adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated to lower risk of mortality in colorectal and prostate cancer survivors. A meta-analysis using a random-effects model showed that higher versus lower diet quality was associated with a 23% reduction in overall mortality in breast cancer survivors. There was evidence that dietary interventions, generally combined with physical activity, improved overall quality of life, though most studies were in breast cancer survivors. Further cohort and intervention studies in other cancers are needed to make more specific recommendations.