Diets high in antioxidant-rich foods may cut the risk of developing bacterial infections or mucositis during the first phase of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatment in pediatric patients, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Elena J. Ladas, Ph.D., R.D., from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues analyzed clinical and dietary survey data from 513 children with ALL participating in a prospective clinical trial. Associations between dietary intake of antioxidants and treatment-related toxicities and survival were evaluated both in the induction and postinduction phases of therapy.
The researchers found that 23 and 16 percent of patients experienced a bacterial infection during the induction or postinduction phases of treatment, respectively, while 4 and 10 percent, respectively, experienced mucositis. There was a significant association noted between increased intake of dietary antioxidants and lower rates of infection and mucositis. There were no associations seen between dietary antioxidants and either relapse or disease-free survival. Additionally, the investigators observed no associations between supplementation and toxicity, relapse, or survival.
“This is the first study to suggest that a high-quality diet, rather than taking supplements, during ALL treatment may be beneficial in reducing these common toxicities,” a coauthor said in a statement.