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March 23, 1979

Benign breast lumps may regress with change in diet

JAMA. 1979;241(12):1221. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290380005003

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Many women with long-standing, clinically benign breast lumps may be able to reassure themselves that they do not have breast cancer by a much simpler means than breast biopsy, according to John Peter r Minton, MD, PhD, of the Department of Surgery at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Minton has found that about two thirds of benign breast lumps disappear in women who completely eliminate all forms of methylxanthines—caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine—from their diets.

Several years ago Minton found that cyclic nucleotides, which stimulate cell growth and division, are appreciably elevated in biopsy tissue from women with fibrocystic disease and fibroadenoma. He wondered whether the increased level of cyclic nucleotides might be contributing to the growth of the breast lumps and whether the increase might be due to methylxanthines. These chemicals are known to inhibit phosphodiesterase, the enzyme that catabolizes cyclic nucleotides.

Reporting to the recent meeting of