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Nutr Cancer. 2007;57(2):177-83.

Dietary canola oil suppressed growth of implanted MDA-MB 231 human breast tumors in nude mice.

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The Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington, West Virginia 25701, USA.


Long chain omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and/or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to suppress growth of most cancer cells. In vivo, alpha linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3) can be converted to EPA or DHA. We hypothesized that substituting canola oil (10% ALA) for the corn oil (1% ALA) in the diet of cancer bearing mice would slow tumor growth by increasing n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Sixty nude mice received MDA-MB 231 human breast cancer cells and were fed a diet containing 8% w/w corn oil until the mean tumor volume was 60 mm3. The dietary fat of half of the tumor bearing mice was then changed to 8% w/w canola oil. Compared to mice that consumed the corn oil containing diet, the mice that consumed the canola oil containing diet had significantly more EPA and DHA in both tumors and livers, and the mean tumor growth rate and cell proliferation in the tumor were significantly slower (P<0.05). About 25 days after diet change, mice that consumed the corn oil diet stopped gaining weight, whereas the mice that consumed the canola oil diet continued normal weight gain. Use of canola oil instead of corn oil in the diet may be a reasonable means to increase consumption of n-3 fatty acids with potential significance for slowing growth of residual cancer cells in cancer survivors.

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