Low fat, fish oil diet helps slow down cancer

Washington: A low-fat, fish-oil combo diet, taken weeks before prostate removal, slows down prostate cancer growth as compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles` Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centre, also found that men on such diet were able to change the composition of their cell membranes in both healthy and cancerous cells in the prostate gland.

They had increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil in the cell membranes, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, said William Aronson, study co-author and Jonsson Centre researcher, the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports.

The study also found that blood obtained from patients after the low-fat, fish oil diet programme slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube as compared to blood from men on the Western diet, which did not slow cancer growth, according to a Jonsson Centre statement.

"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," Aronson said.

"The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances the cancer will spread outside the prostate where it is much harder to treat."