Chemopreventive effects of dietary flaxseed oil on colon tumor development.
Planta Med. 2008 May;74(6):686-92. Epub 2008 Apr 30. PMID: 15749630
Fatty acid composition of dietary fat, primarily the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, has shown profound effect on colon tumor development in animal studies. Fats containing omega-6 fatty acids (for example, corn oil) enhanced and omega-3 fatty acids (for example, fish oil and mustard oil) reduced chemically induced colon tumors in rats. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary flaxseed oil (containing alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid) on azoxymethane-induced colon tumor in rats and how it compared with the dietary corn oil-treated group. Male Fischer rats, separated into 2 groups of 30, were assigned to the AIN-93M diet, which was supplemented with either 15% corn oil or 15% flaxseed oil. Carcinogenesis was initiated with subcutaneous injections of azoxymethane (15 mg/kg) once a week for three consecutive weeks. Thirty-five weeks after initiation, the rats were sacrificed under ether anesthesia. Blood was collected by cardiac puncture. The gastrointestinal tract was isolated and flushed with ice-cold normal saline. The site, size, and number of tumors were recorded. The incidence and multiplicity of the tumors in the colon were determined. The fatty acid composition in the serum, colon, and tumors was estimated by using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Colon tumor incidence was found to be 100% and 54%, whereas multiplicity was found to be 3.1 and 0.7 tumors per rat in corn oil- and flaxseed oil-treated groups, respectively. Tumor size was significantly larger in the corn oil-treated group than in the flaxseed oil group. Colon and serum samples of the corn oil group showed an increase in the omega-6 fatty acid levels, whereas the flaxseed oil group exhibited an increase in the omega-3 fatty acid levels. The results indicate that dietary flaxseed oil, containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, is effective in preventing colon tumor development when compared with dietary corn oil containing omega-6 fatty acids in rats.