The strongest evidence linking early nutrition to cancer in humans comes from randomized controlled trials but, for obvious ethical and practical reasons, there have been very few nutritional interventions in early life specifically designed to influence later cancer risk in the offspring. Much of the evidence for the programming of cancer risk and other health outcomes by early nutrition comes from studies in animals. Most of the evidence in humans to substantiate this link comes from observational data, primarily associations between birthweight and early growth and adult disease. There are numerous hypothesised mechanisms through which nutrition can influence the risk of cancer. Critically, any postulated mechanism linking early nutrition to cancer risk must explain the delay, often of decades, between the original exposure and manifestation of the disease. Likely hypotheses can be categorised into effects on genotype, epigenotype and phenotype.
|Title of host publication||Nutrition and Development|
|Subtitle of host publication||Short- and Long-Term Consequences for Health|
|Editors||Judith L. Buttriss, British Nutrition Foundation|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 31 May 2013|