Study: Flaxseed may mitigate prostate cancer

Found the following article on Yahoo! News.

Flaxseed Helps Shield Mice from Prostate Cancer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mice fed plenty of flaxseed seem to be protected against the worst forms of prostate cancer (news - web sites), which suggests flaxseed contains some protective components, US researchers said on Monday.

Flaxseed is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and compounds known as lignans, all of which may play a role in protecting against cancer and perhaps also heart disease.

A team at Duke University Medical Center fed large amounts of flaxseed to mice genetically engineered to develop prostate cancer. They compared them to genetically engineered mice that were not fed any flaxseed.

About 3% of the mice given flaxseed did not develop prostate cancer at all and the rest had small tumors that were less likely to spread, they reported in the journal Urology.

“Tumors in the untreated control group were twice the size of tumors in the flaxseed group,” Dr. Xu Lin, who led the study, said in a statement.

“The tumors were also less aggressive in the flaxseed group, and two of the mice in the flaxseed group did not develop prostate cancer at all.”

Other research has suggested that men who eat flaxseed have lower levels of prostate specific antigen, a protein produced by prostate cells that is now used as a test for prostate cancer. The higher the levels, the more likely it is that a man has prostate cancer.

“We are cautiously optimistic about these findings,” urologist Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, who helped lead the study, said in a statement.

"The amount of flaxseed given to each mouse was 5% of its total food intake, which would be a very difficult amount for humans to eat, but it does signal that we are on the right track and need to continue research in this area."

The team is now doing a study in men with prostate cancer.

About 30,000 American men die every year of prostate cancer, the second biggest cancer killer of men after lung cancer.

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