Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial to see if dietary supplements can affect abnormal cervical cells (CRISP-1)
This trial tried to find out if a dietary supplement could help abnormal cervical cells return to normal. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
A cervical smear test can pick up different stages of ‘abnormal cells’ on the neck of the womb (the cervix). As these cells are ‘pre cancerous’, the treatment you have can prevent cervical cancer. What you have depends on whether the cells show borderline, mild, moderate or severe changes (dyskaryosis).
If you have moderate or severe cell changes, you will then have a colposcopy. This is a close examination of your cervix. If you have borderline changes, you will probably have another smear test 6 months later, or you may have a colposcopy. If you have mild changes you will either have another smear test 6 months later or a colposcopy.
A supplement called diindolylmethane (pronounced di-in-doll-ile-me-th-aine), called DIM for short, is found in vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Research has shown that DIM may change pre cancerous cells back to normal cells.
In this trial, women who had borderline or mild cervical cell changes took a form of DIM, called BioResponse DIM, every day for 6 months. The aim of this trial was to see if DIM helped abnormal cells return to normal.
Summary of results
The trial team found that taking diindolylmethane (DIM) for a short while was not likely to help abnormal cells of the cervix return to normal.
- 400 had DIM
- 200 had the dummy drug (
After 6 months these women had a follow up colposcopy and cervical smear test
- 373 had DIM
- 178 had dummy drug
- 49 did not attend their follow up colposcopy
Of the 373 women who had DIM their colposcopy and cervical smear test
- 185 were normal
- 87 had borderline changes
- 72 had mild changes
- 19 had moderate changes
- 7 had severe changes
- 1 not enough cells were taken
- 2 results were missing
Of the 178 who had the dummy drug
- 98 were normal
- 40 had borderline changes
- 26 had mild changes
- 6 had moderate changes
- 6 had severe changes
- 1 result was missing
As twice as many women took DIM, there was no difference statistically between the 2 groups. The trial team concluded that having DIM for 6 months was not likely to help abnormal cells of the cervix return to normal.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Peter Sasieni
Professor Alison Fiander
Cancer Research UK
Cardiff University (School of Medicine)
Cervical Screening Wales (CSW)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Queen Mary University of London