UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Trends in Diet and Cancer Research : A Bibliometric and Visualization Analysis Giles, Erin D.; Purcell, Sarah A.; Olson, Jessica; Vrieling, Alina; Hirko, Kelly A.; Woodruff, Kary; Playdon, Mary C.; Thomas, Gwendolyn A.; Gilmore, L. Anne; Moberly, Heather K.; et al.


Diet plays a critical role for patients across the cancer continuum. The World Cancer Research Fund International and the American Cancer Society have published evidence supporting the role of nutrition in cancer prevention. We conducted an analysis of the literature on dietary nutrients and cancer to uncover opportunities for future research. The objective of the bibliometric analysis was to describe trends in peer-reviewed publications on dietary components and cancer and to highlight research gaps. PubMed was queried for manuscripts with diet- and cancer-related keywords and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms. Metadata covering 99,784 publications from 6469 journals were analyzed to identify trends since 1970 on diet topics across 19 tumor types. Publications focused largely on breast, colorectal, and liver cancer, with fewer papers linking diet with other cancers such as brain, gallbladder, or ovarian. With respect to “unhealthy” diets, many publications focused on high-fat diets and alcohol consumption. The largest numbers of publications related to “healthy” diets examined the Mediterranean diet and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. These findings highlight the need for additional research focused on under-investigated cancers and dietary components, as well as dietary studies during cancer therapy and post-therapy, which may help to prolong survivorship.

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