Posted on May 17, 2010, 6 a.m.
Results of a recent study showed that flaxseed decreases the severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.
Flaxseed, a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linoleic acid (ALA), has been found to reduce the severity of ovarian cancer and increase the likelihood of surviving the disease. Professor Janice Bahr and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign investigated the effect of flaxseed on ovarian cancer in hens. The researchers chose to study hens because they are the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer like humans. The hens were fed a flaxseed-enriched diet or a control diet for one year. Results showed that hens fed the control diet had significantly more late stage ovarian tumors than the flaxseed-fed hens. Furthermore, the tumors detected in hens fed the flaxseed-enriched diet were significantly more likely to be confined to the ovary and had less metastatic spread. "This is an important finding as the metastases that accompany late-stage ovarian cancer are the main cause of death from this disease," said Professor Bahr. "If the cancer is found at an early stage, when the tumor is still confined to the ovary, women have a much better prognosis and more treatment options." The authors concluded: "These findings show that 10% flaxseed supplementation for 1 year in the laying hen results in a significant reduction in the severity of ovarian cancer, but no change in the incidence of the disease. Hens fed flaxseed had overall better health and reduced mortality. These findings may provide the basis for a clinical trial that evaluates the efficacy of flaxseed as a chemosuppressant of ovarian cancer in women."
Kristine Ansenberger, Cassandra Richards, Yan Zhuge, Animesh Barua, Janice M. Bahr, Judith L. Luborsky, Dale Buchanan Hales. Decreased severity of ovarian cancer and increased survival in hens fed a flaxseed-enriched diet for 1 year. Gynecologic Oncology. 2010;117:341-347.