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Prostate cancer can be 'slowed by diet' Study also finds benefits in fish oil supplements.

Byline: John von Radowitz

ALOW-FAT diet with fish oil supplements can slow down the growth of prostate cancer, research has shown. Scientists in the US made the discovery after testing prostate tissue samples taken from men with the disease.

They found that just four to six weeks on the diet was enough to reduce the growth of cancer cells.

The same effect was not seen in men who remained on a regular Western diet with no fish oil supplements. Study leader Professor William Aronson, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said: "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.

"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 findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

The scientists tested blood samples before and after the diet commenced, and examined tissue from surgically removed prostate glands.

Changes prompted by what the men were eating were clearly evident in the prostate tissue, said Prof Aronson. The diet appeared to alter the fatty acid composition of prostate cell membranes.

Similar results were previously obtained from laboratory cell cultures and animals.

"You truly are what you eat," said Prof Aronson. "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 favourably affect the biology of prostate cancer." The researchers measured the rate of prostate cancer cell division by looking for evidence of a growth protein called Ki-67.

"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," said Prof Aronson.

"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."

Prof Aronson said the short duration and small size of the study meant he could not recommend dietary changes.

He is now planning a larger study of 100 men with prostate cancers who were not being actively treated but receiving regular biopsies and check-ups.

The study will take a year to evaluate the effects of a low fat diet, Western diet, or fish oil supplements on prostate cancer growth. Each year around 36,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 10,000 die from the disease.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2011
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