A Fishy Way to Reduce Prostate Cancer

Reduce prostate cancer growth with a low fat diet and fish oil

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Eating right and following a proper diet are smart strategies for good health. For men, a low-fat and fish oil diet may decrease prostate cancer risk.

Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered that a low-fat and fish oil diet can reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells prior to prostate removal. This diet also changed the cellular makeup in healthy and cancerous cells.

"Eating a balanced low-fat diet can lead to better health."

Dr. William Aronson, a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and author of the study, evaluated 48 patients who were about to undergo prostate removal had a low-fat and fish oil diet over the course of four to six weeks. In the cells, there was an increase in the level of omega-3 fatty acids and a decrease in omega-6 fatty acids, which can be found in vegetable oils. In previous research, omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to possible health risks.

According to the research, a typical Western diet has 40 percent of its calories coming from fat. The low-fat diet had 15 percent of its calories come from fat. Men also took fish oil capsules, three during breakfast and two during dinner for a total of five grams of fish oil a day. All men had their food prepared and delivered which lead to very accurate results.

For scientists, this small study has shown a link between reducing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids and increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce prostate cancer growth. Scientists looked for the protein Ki-67 which is associated with cell growth. Higher level of Ki-67 have been associated with an increased chance of prostate cancer moving on to a more advanced stage. The patients on this low-fat and fish oil diet had a lowered level of Ki-67.

If a diet that increases fish oil omega-3 fatty acids and reduces omega-6 fatty acids can reduce the growth of cancerous cells, it can affect whether or not the cancer will spread past the prostate. If prostate cancer spreads into other parts of the body it can be very difficult to treat.

According to studies, fish oil omega-3 fatty acid has been linked to reduce the risk of heart disease and battles against inflammation. This second benefit of omega-3 fatty acids has scientists interested in its possible use in cancer fighting treatments because inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for cancer.

Dr. Aronoson talked with DailyRx about this study. For Dr. Aronson, "There is real potential that a healthy low-fat diet with fish oil may potentially retard prostate cancer progression. That being said, this was a short-term trial so we can't draw any firm conclusions.

We are initiating a 1-year trial in men on active surveillance, and the information obtained from this trial will be extremely helpful to better understand the potential for diet to impact on prostate cancer growth."

This study was published in the October edition of Cancer Prevention Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 31, 2011
Last Updated:
November 2, 2011