Posts Tagged ‘prostate cancer’

Omega 3 and cancer the facts

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Omega-3 supplements linked to prostate cancer” (Fox News) “Omega-3 supplements could raise prostate risk” (Telegraph)

“Fish oil supplements linked to prostate cancer” (Health News) “Men who take omega-3 supplements at 71 percent higher risk of prostate cancer” (NY Daily News) “Omega-3 supplements may trigger prostate cancer” (Nursing Times) “Hold the salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids linked to higher risk of cancer” (CNN)

The headlines that appeared are familar to everyone , they would be funny due to the idiocy of them if the subject matter and consequences were not so serious.

We all know the way scientific studies are carried out so the assumption would be that researchers gave one group omega3 fish oil supplements, another group placebos.The group that were given the omega3 fish oil supplements were the ones to develop prostate cancer.

That was not the case in fact it couldnt be further from the truth

It is astounding bearing in mind the reporting by the worlds media however the plain and simple fact is no fish oil supplements — or any other kind of supplements, for that matter — were given in this study. This study looked at blood levels of long-chain fatty acids such as those found in fish (EPA and DHA). And even there, the association between higher blood levels and prostate cancer was only found for DHA. No association was found between EPA and prostate cancer, nor between prostate cancer and ALA (the omega-3 found in flax and chia).

The study was as many these days an observational one (based on nested data from participants in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial from 1994-2003). There was no experiment, just an observation about what things were found together in this particular population

When you look at the whole picture it does appear that DHA and NOT EPA is responsible – on looking at the individual fatty acids EPA and DHA are very diiferent yet the media chose to lump them together. TakeOmega3 / TO3 is unique amongst omega3 products in that it has high levels of EPA and very low levels DHA .Recent capsule analysis showed each capsule contained 810mg EPA and 120mgDHA . So even taking multiple capsules of T03 it means minimum levels of DHA. Other brands available tend to be high in DHA with minimum levels EPA.

The study however came up with even more contraversial data which the worlds media chose to ignore – the study participents who had the highest levels of trans fats in their blood had the lowest risk of prostate cancer.

We all know that people are recommended to eat fish and avoid foods that are high in trans fats – yet based on the study data ….

Is there an explanation for high levels of DHA in the blood amongst the group at most risk of prostate cancer ?

DHA levels in the blood do not necessarily co relate with dietary intake. The men with the higher levels of DHA weren’t necessarily eating more fish, they werent taking omega 3 supplements (because the researchers said as much). Though DHA levels in the blood go up when you you take omega3 , they can also go up for other reasons, ie a low fat diet

The “highest levels of serum DHA” were based on percentage values, not absolute values. percentage-based measurements can be at times misleading. A higher percentage of DHA might mean a lower percentage of something that the researchers didn’t investigate. (They only looked at eight fatty acids.) Dr Ching Kuang Chow wtote in American Journal of Nutrition “Expressing plasma phospholipid fatty acid composition as a percentage of the total is meaningful only when the total fatty acid content is identical for all subjects,”

A really really important point is thar correlation is not causation – this was an observational study and was not randomized or controlled. What also wasnt highlighted was the following

1. 53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers.

2. 64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol.

3. 30 percent of the cancer subjects had at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer.

4. 80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese.

Interestingly, the findings of this study are extremely similar to a previously published article by the same authors in 2011.[2] Reporting their findings from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, the group published data showing DHA to be significantly and positively associated with the risk of high-grade prostate cancer whilst EPA was not.Brasky et al., Serum Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk: Results From the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial Am J Epidemiol. 2011 173:1429-39
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Research on the function of EPA and DHA, both together and as individual fatty acids, has progressed significantly in the last couple of decades. Indeed,to just refer to them as omega3 is seriously flawed and is no longer viable. Because DHA is the most unstable of the long-chain omega-3s, the products of lipid peroxidation derived from DHA supplementation may actually counteract the benefits normally attributed to omega-3. Conversley with specific regards to EPA , which T03 is uniquely high in there are a number of ongoing studies which show the chemo protective properties of EPA and its viability in both cancer prevention and treatment .

Omega-3 fish oil As Possible Therapeutic Agent In Breast & Prostate Cancers

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Omega-3FA As Possible Therapeutic Agents In Breast & Prostate Cancers

Brown I, Wahle KW, Cascio MG, et al. Omega-3 N-acylethanolamines are endogenously synthesised from omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil ) in different human prostate and breast cancer cell lines. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Oct 11.

Omega-3  fatty acids (fish oil ) inhibit breast and prostate cancer cell growth.

We previously showed that N-acylethanolamine derivatives of n-3 (n-3-NAE) are endocannabinoids, which regulate cancer cell proliferation. These n-3-NAE are synthesised in certain cells/tissues, after supplementing with omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil , however, no one has assessed whether and to what extent this occurs in cancer cells.

We determined levels of endogenous n-3-NAEs in hormone sensitive and insensitive prostate and breast cancer cells and subsequent effects on other endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol), before and after supplementing with DHA and EPA fatty acids which are the active ingredient of fish oil , using HPLC tandem mass spectrometry.

This is the first study reporting that omega 3 -NAEs are synthesised from their parent omega 3  fatty acids in cancer cells, regardless of tumour type, hormone status or the presence of fatty acid amide hydrolase.

This could have important implications for the use of omega 3  fatty acids ( fish oil ) as therapeutic agents in breast and prostate cancers expressing cannabinoid receptors.

Omega 3 fish oil supplementation slows growth of prostate cancer cells

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

A low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed down the growth of prostate cancer cells — the number of rapidly dividing cells in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

Done by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the short-term study also found that the men on the low-fat, fish oil supplement diet were able to change the composition of their cell membranes in both the healthy cells and the cancer cells in the prostate.

They had increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil in the cell membranes, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study’s first author and a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study also found that blood obtained from patients after the low-fat, fish oil diet program slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube as compared to blood from men on the Western diet, which did not slow cancer growth.

“The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression,” Aronson said. “The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances that the cancer will spread outside the prostate, where it is much harder to treat.”

The study appeared in Cancer Prevention Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study, which evaluated blood samples before and after the diet commenced and examined tissue from the removed prostate, validated previous studies by Aronson and others done on cell lines and in animal models.

Aronson said the study using human blood and tissue also proved that the changes prompted by what the men were eating were clearly evident in their prostate tissue – the “treatment” was indeed reaching the targeted organ because of the changes in the prostate cell membrane’s fatty acid composition.

“You truly are what you eat,” said Aronson, a clinical professor of urology, who also serves as chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Based on our animal studies, we were hopeful that we would see the same effects in humans. We are extremely pleased about our findings, which suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorable affect the biology of prostate cancer.”

Aronson measured proliferation, or the rate of prostate cancer cell division, by staining tissue obtained from the radical prostatectomy specimens with an antibody against Ki-67, a protein involved in the cell-cycle progression and growth.

“The percentage of prostate cancer cells that stained for Ki-67 was determined by the pathologist, and this gave us an objective measurement of the percentage of cells that were actively dividing and therefore more aggressive,” said Aronson. “Previous studies found that patients with higher levels of Ki-67 in their prostate cancer tissue were more likely to have their prostate cancer progress to advanced stages, and were more likely to die from their prostate cancer. Thus, we are extremely encouraged by our findings that a low-fat diet with fish oil lowered Ki-67 levels and may have the potential to slow the progression of prostate cancer.”

Diet studies often are difficult to evaluate because getting patients to comply with dietary changes can be challenging. However, the food eaten by men in both arms of this study was precisely controlled, Aronson said.

The meals were prepared by chefs in the UCLA Clinical Translational Research Center and delivered in bulk to study participants several times a week. Participants also met with a dietician, kept food diaries and were required to return uneaten food.

“The key to this study was having the meals prepared and delivered to the study participants,” Aronson said. “This resulted in a very high rate of compliance, making the study very well controlled.”

The Western diet consisted of 40 percent of calories from fat, generally equivalent to what many Americans consume today. The fat sources also were typical of the American diet, and included high levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and low levels of fish oil that provide omega-3 fatty acids.

The low-fat diet consisted of 15 percent of calories from fat. Additionally, the men on this diet took five grams of fish oil per day in five capsules, three with breakfast and two with dinner, to provide fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the incidence of heart disease and fight inflammation, and inflammation has been associated with certain cancers.

“Preclinical studies suggest that lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression,” the study states. “We found this diet intervention resulted in a decrease in omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acid ratios in benign and malignant prostate tissue and a decrease in malignant cell proliferation.”

Aronson cautioned that he could not recommend dietary changes based on this study because of its short duration and small sample size. However, based on these results he is organizing a much larger study of 100 men with prostate cancers who have elected active surveillance, meaning they’re not getting any treatment for their disease but are getting regular biopsies and check-ups.

The future study will randomly divide the men into a low-fat, fish oil supplement group and a traditional Western diet group and follow them for a year to evaluate the diet effects on prostate cancer proliferation.

Omega 3 and Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer, even in men who carry a particular variant in the COX-2 gene that is known to raise the risk of the disease.

“Previous research has shown protection (by omega-3 fatty acids) against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2,” Dr. John S. Witte of the University of California, San Francisco noted in a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Witte and colleagues studied 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy matched controls. They assessed diet using a “food frequency” questionnaire and genotyped the men for nine COX-2 variants.

The researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.

“Importantly,” Witte and colleagues say, this protective effect was even stronger in men who carried the COX-2 variant, rs4647310, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Specifically, men with low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this particular variant had a more than fivefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 rs4647310 variant.

In other words, the increased risk of prostate cancer associated with the COX-2 rs4647310 variant was “essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day,” Witte said.

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