February 10, 2006

Omega-6: fuel for prostate cancer cells?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adding arachidonic acid, a
common omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, to culture media
causes prostate cancer cells to grow twice as fast as usual,
according to a report in the February 1st issue of Cancer

"Investigating the reasons for this rapid growth, we
discovered that the omega-6 was turning on a dozen inflammatory
genes that are known to be important in cancer," lead author
Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, from the San Francisco VA Medical
Center, said in a statement.

Further analysis indicated that arachidonic acid was
activating these genes through the "PI3-kinase" pathway, which
is known to play a key role in the pathogenesis of cancer.

Adding a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a
PI3-kinase inhibitor to the culture media blocked the
arachidonic acid-induced growth of prostate cancer cells.

In light of the current findings, Dr. Hughes-Fulford said
she now avoids cooking with corn oil, which is known to be high
in omega-6 fatty acids. "I'm not a physician, and do not tell
people how to eat, but I can tell you what I do in my own home.
I use only canola oil and olive oil."

SOURCE: Cancer Research, February 1, 2006.