Diindolylmethane (DIM) is created naturally when you digest cruciferous vegetables, and it’s also a nutritional supplement with possible anticancer effects.

How can DIM help you? What the research says

We summarize the clinical evidence for each medical benefit here. We begin with our assessment of the strength of evidence within each category, followed by a brief summary of individual studies or reviews of several studies. In assessing the strength of evidence, we consider the study design, number of participants, and the size of the treatment effect (how much outcomes changed with treatment).

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Improving treatment outcomes

Is DIM linked to improved survival? Is it linked to less cancer growth or metastasis? Does it enhance the anticancer action of other treatments or therapies? We present the evidence.

Breast cancer

No evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on breast density among women with breast cancer prescribed tamoxifen treated with DIM

Prostate cancer

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of anticancer effects among people with prostate cancer or prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) treated with DIM

Optimizing your body terrain

Does DIM promote an environment within your body that is less supportive of cancer development, growth, or spread? We present the evidence.

See Optimizing Your Body Terrain ›

Find medical professionals who specialize in managing body terrain factors: Finding Integrative Oncologists and Other Practitioners ›

Hormone levels

Changes in hormone levels seen in the studies here may not be beneficial in every situation. Your oncology team needs to determine whether any changes would be favorable for your condition.

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of favorable changes in sex hormones among people with hormone-sensitive cancers (breast and prostate), or at risk of these cancers, or with thyroid proliferative disease treated with DIM

Managing side effects and promoting wellness

Is DIM linked to fewer or less severe side effects or symptoms? Is it linked to less toxicity from cancer treatment? Does it support your quality of life or promote general well-being? We present the evidence.

Symptoms not specific to cancer

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of fewer and shorter bleeding episodes and less pelvic pain among women with endometriosis treated with DIM

Reducing cancer risk

Is DIM linked to lower risks of developing cancer or of recurrence? We present the evidence.

Breast cancer

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of less fibroglandular tissue but no evidence of an effect on a markera chemical or substance, such as certain proteins or genetic material, that are associated with the presence of cancer or a change in status or prognosis; these markers can be detected in blood, urine, or tissue. Tumor markers are not direct measures of clinical outcomes such as survival or metastasis, and if a therapy or treatment shows an impact only on tumor markers, we cannot surmise that it will affect survival. of cancer risk among female BRCA carriers treated with DIM

Weak evidence of better BRCA1 mRNA expression in white blood cells (related to lower risk of breast cancer) among women BRCA mutation carriers treated with DIM

Gynecological cancer

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of regression of cervical lesions among women with grade 1–2 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) treated with DIM as a vaginal suppository

No evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on markersa chemical or substance, such as certain proteins or genetic material, that are associated with the presence of cancer or a change in status or prognosis; these markers can be detected in blood, urine, or tissue. Tumor markers are not direct measures of clinical outcomes such as survival or metastasis, and if a therapy or treatment shows an impact only on tumor markers, we cannot surmise that it will affect survival. of cervical cancer among women treated with oral DIM

Keep reading about diindolylmethane

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: December 10, 2023

Last full literature review: December 2022

We are grateful for research assistance from Adriana Rocio Gutierrez Galvis.

CancerChoices provides information about integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care, and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocialtherapy, and acupuncture therapies and self carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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