Letter | Published:

Nutrition and Aflatoxin Carcinogenesis

Abstract

ALTHOUGH malnutrition and aflatoxins coexist in many areas of the world where there is a high incidence of liver disease and hepatocarcinoma, animal experiments so far have not precisely duplicated the disease syndrome and the morphological picture observed in man1–8. We have examined interactions between nutritionally induced liver disease and experimental aflatoxin carcinogenesis and found that diets marginal in lipotropes result in remarkable differences in the response of rats to aflatoxin. This work was suggested by observations that diets low in protein had variable effects7,9 on aflatoxin toxicity and carcinogenicity. Furthermore, dietary lipotropes, expecially methionine and vitamin B12, may be critically low in many areas where liver carcinoma and mycotoxins coexist, and so we considered marginal lipotropes to be of more practical significance than low protein per se in the overall evaluation of interactions between nutrition and aflatoxin and their relation to carcinogenesis.

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