Caution urged over mandarin liver cancer link

In collaboration with the Press Association

Reports from Japanese scientists about the benefits of eating mandarins to stave off liver cancer have been met with caution by Cancer Research UK experts.

Two studies were published last week that claimed to show a link.

But Ed Yong, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "These studies are far too small to tell us anything conclusive about whether mandarin oranges protect against liver cancer.

"Smoking, and cirrhosis of the liver caused by excessive alcohol consumption, are more likely to affect your risk of the disease. "Cancer Research UK recommends eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet to reduce the risk of cancer. But it is unclear if any specific fruits have particularly strong benefits."

According to the researchers from National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, vitamin A compounds called carotenoids could cut the risks of liver disease, hardened arteries and insulin resistance.

The institute surveyed 1,073 people who ate a high number of mandarin oranges in the Japanese town of Mikkabi in Shizuoka, and have linked certain chemical markers in the population's blood samples that are connected to a lower risk of several serious conditions, with the high mandarin consumption.

The second study at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine looked at 30 patients with viral hepatitis.

They were given a daily drink containing carotenoids and mandarin juice for a year. After a year, no liver cancer was found in any of the patients, compared to a rate of 8.9 per cent in a group of 45 who had the disease but did not receive the mandarin juice

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