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Nutrition, Immunity, and Cancers

Abstract

The immune system is the main defense against invading pathogens, foreign components, and cancerous cells in our body. The inflammatory cascade, including the release of proinflammatory cytokines and formation of free radicals, plays an important role in chronic diseases such as cancer. It is also well understood that nutritional and immunologic influences can occur during initiation, promotion, and progression stages of carcinogenesis. On the other hand, a number of nutritional factors such as energy-protein balance, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants can modulate gene expression and immune responses. All these factors function differently to modulate our immune response, but all seem to have the potential to protect against cancer development and progression. Other factors such as nutritional support have played a unique role in recovery and reduction of complications from cancer and its treatment. Therefore, establishing, maintaining, supporting, and restoring healthy immune function and proper nutritional status contribute to the prevention and treatment of neoplasms.

Because cancer patients face special concerns such as malnutrition and major surgery, they often have impaired host defense mechanisms such as a reduction in neutrophil chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and a loss of monocytes, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells, which increase the morbidity and mortality rates in these cases.

In summary, recent findings show that nutrition, immunity, and cancer seem to be locked into a three-way relationship, so immunonutrition may provide a less invasive alternative to immunotherapy against cancers associated with chronic inflammation (Fig. 20.1).

Keywords

  • Celiac Disease
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Cancer Cachexia
  • Oral Nutritional Supplement
  • Serum Free Fatty Acid Level

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 20.1
Fig. 20.2

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Correspondence to Maryam Mahmoudi MD, PhD .

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Abolhassani, H., Honarvar, N.M., Mosby, T.T., Mahmoudi, M. (2015). Nutrition, Immunity, and Cancers. In: Rezaei, N. (eds) Cancer Immunology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44006-3_20

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