Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flaxseed-fed chickens shed light on ovarian cancer

05.05.2010
In the race to find answers about ovarian cancer, researchers now have something to cluck about. For five years, University of Illinois researchers have been using the chicken as a model to study this deadly disease and have recently discovered that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreases severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.

Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, one type of omega-3 fatty acid. Several studies have already shown that flaxseed inhibits the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors.

For these reasons, it was logical to study how omega-3 fatty acids affect ovarian cancer as there continues to be no effective treatment at this time, said Janice Bahr, a professor emerita in the U of I Department of Animal Sciences and one of the nation's leading poultry researchers.

According to Bahr, 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and 15,000 die. The incidences of death in other cancers have dropped recently, but ovarian cancer death rates have remained the same.

"The chicken is the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer on the surface of the ovaries like humans," Bahr said. "In this study, we evaluated how a flaxseed-enriched diet affected 2-year-old laying hens (hens that have ovulated as many times as a woman entering menopause)."

The results showed that hens fed a flaxseed-enriched diet for one year experienced a significant reduction in late-stage ovarian tumors.

"Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a very poor prognosis because they are not diagnosed until stage 3 or 4 when the cancer has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body," Bahr said.

Hens fed the control diet had significantly more late-stage tumors that presented with fluid and metastases as compared to the hens fed a flaxseed diet. Though hens fed the flaxseed diet did not have a decreased incidence of ovarian cancer, they did experience fewer late-stage tumors and higher survival rates.

"In hens fed flaxseed, we found that more tumors were confined to the ovary and they had less metastatic spread," she said. "This is an important finding as the metastases that accompany late-stage ovarian cancer are the main cause of death from this disease. 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."

In addition, researchers found that hens fed the flaxseed diet had better weight control which is important because obesity increases cancer risk. Both diets had equal caloric content, however the flaxseed-fed hens weighed less at six months than the control-fed hens. But at 12 months, the flaxseed-fed hens were the same weight and the control-fed hens had loss significant weight, which was indicative of their failing health. Ultimately, the flaxseed-enriched diet helped the birds maintain a healthy weight and resulted in less sickness and death.

"Through this research, we have proven that flaxseed supplementation for one year is able to reduce the severity of ovarian cancer in hens," she said. "These findings may provide the basis for a clinical trial that evaluates the efficacy of flaxseed as a chemosuppressant of ovarian cancer in women."

The cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown, but one of the most prevalent theories is the "incessant ovulation hypothesis," proposed by MF Fathalla in 1971. He suggests that inflammation associated with continuous ovulation leaves ovarian surface epithelial cells susceptible to malignant transformation. The observation that egg-laying domestic hens frequently develop ovarian cancer supports this hypothesis.

Bahr believes this hypothesis is valid and is currently in the middle of a four-year study to determine if long-term dietary intervention with flaxseed will reduce the incidence of ovarian cancer development. The hens started the flaxseed-supplemented diet at 22 weeks of age, as soon as they commenced egg laying and before damage from ovulation had accumulated.

This research was published in Gynecologic Oncology and funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Grant, an American Institute for Cancer Research Grant, and an NIH Training Grant.

Researchers included principal investigator Dale Buchanan Hales of Southern Illinois University. Co-principal investigators include Janice Bahr of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kristine Ansenberger and Cassandra Richards of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Yan Zhuge, Judith Luborsky and Animesh Barua of Rush University Medical Center.

NOTE: Digital photos available at http://images.itcs.uiuc.edu/media/bahr/

News writer: Jennifer Shike
phone: 217-244-0888; email: jshike@illinois.edu

Jennifer Shike | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>