Prostate and breast cancer and omega 6s and 3s

     A study [1] found significant differences in the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids levels in tissue taken from benign and malignant prostate cancer tumors from within the same prostate specimen. Malignant tissue samples were found to have less total omega-6 fatty acids then the benign samples. The tissue levels of the specific types were also different.
The malignant tissue had more of the dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) (C20:3w6) an omega 6 fatty acid and precursor to other omega 6 metabolites. There was significantly less of two omega 6 fatty acids. Arachidonic acid (AA) (C20:4w6), and adrenic acid, (C22:4w6) were at lower levels  in cancer tissue that was malignant compared to tissue that was benign. The abstract to the study concludes with the statement “These findings provide additional evidence that dietary fat is associated with prostatic carcinogenesis.”
     It seems to me that if the samples were simply from different areas of the same specimen that the same human would have been eating the same dietary fats. The two types of tissue from within the same gland would have received the same blood flow and nutrients. So  the malignant tissue had less AA and adrenic acid and less total omega 6 fatty acids but more DGLA than the benign tissue. So something is happening in that malignant tissue that isn’t happening in the benign tissue and the net effect is loss of total omega 6 content. Something else has to be associated with the malignant prostatic carcinogenesis because the dietary fat is going to both the benign and the malignant tissue.
     Elsewhere information has been discovered that malignant prostate cancer cells can make an enzyme that can convert Arachidonic acid into a form usable as a food source for the malignant growth. Increased intake of CLA and ginger may help preserve arachidonic acid from being converted to 5-HETE which the cancer cells can use as an energy source. [Ginger slows prostate cancer growth] (10/20/2011) So targeting the enzyme  that converts AA to 5-HETE would make more sense than wondering what omega 6 and omega 3 ratio on the person’s plate might turn malignant cells back into benign ones. /speculation – The fat ratio in meals may have some effect  on slowing or speeding the growth rate of the cancer cells but it is unlikely to be able to change it back to benign. Some information suggests that malignancy might be preventable and that cancer metastasis might be reduced by avoiding animal products that are rich in free AA. donmatesz
AA forms part of the structure of membranes under normal conditions. AA can be converted from lecithin and combined with ethanolamine to become anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid (eCB). Lab tests find free AA after it has been broken down from eCBs in response to inflammatory signals.
     The eCBs in times of health are part of the membrane structure and there would be little free AA. Controlling the diet for excess calcium and glutamates may help in addition to adding conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) and ginger. The omega 3s and omega 6s are groups of various chemicals that do not have the same functions and their risks and benefits may vary based on individual differences.
Adequate omega 3 fatty acid is important for heart health and mental health. They have been found helpful for depression, diabetes (ALA) and other diagnoses.
     /speculation/ Linolenic acid and omega 6’s may have gotten a bad name partially because larger research studies may not have excluded people with undiagnosed prostate or breast cancer. Their negative responses to a diet high in LA may have skewed the results of other people with normal tolerance for foods with LA or animal products rich in lecithin or AA (chicken, eggs and beef are the richest sources).
/speculation #2/ Over cooking the food source may increase the amount of free AA that is released. Differences in how foods were prepared for the different studies may have modified the results.
  1. A comparative study of tissue ω-6 and ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in benign and malignant pathologic stage pT2a radical prostatectomy specimens.Schumacher MC, Laven B, Petersson F, Cederholm T, Onelöv E, Ekman P, Brendler C.  Urol Oncol. 2011 Mar 31. Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet Department of Urology, Stockholm, Sweden.PMID: 21414816  []
  2. ***infertile men had more omega 6 (AA) and less omega 3  than fertile men. []
  3. ***supplementation with GLA in attempt to modify inflammatory blood chemistry. It worked somewhat.  []
  4. []
Disclaimer: This is provided for informational purposes only. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Ginger slows prostate cancer growth

In a study at Georgia State University whole ginger extract was found to slow growth rate and to cause the death of pancreas cancer cells (PC-3 line) in petri dish type studies and in live mice. [1]

Two grams of ginger per day for one month time periods was found successful at reducing inflammation of the intestinal lining in human studies. [5,6] Free arachidonic acid levels were reduced. Arachidonic acid levels are typically increased in inflammation and it has been found to be a precursor for 5-HETE, a main energy source for stimulating prostate cancer cell growth. [8-12] The prostate cancer cells seem to have the ability to increase production of  an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid (half of the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide) into 5-HETE which is a form needed by the cancer cells.

Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) was used successfully to reduce breast tumor growth in a study regarding the same enzyme from the prostate cancer cells, 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO). The CLA, an essential fatty acid, was not found to be inhibiting the 5-LO enzyme but instead it was reducing the enzyme’s activating protein and possibly competing with arachidonic acid (also an essential fatty acid). It might be able to stand in for the 5-LO enzyme but less 5-HETE was being produced and breast tumor cell growth was “attenuated” (sounds like a good thing).

Attenuation can be defined as the process by which a virus, bacterium, etc., changes under laboratory conditions to become harmless or less virulent.

So I think this research shows:

  1. Prostate and breast cancer cells have learned how to make the 5-LO enzyme or more likely how to make 5-LO’s activating protein
  2. In humans, mice, and in petri dish studies, ginger has been found to inhibit the action of 5-LO from converting as much arachidonic acid into 5-HETE and slowing prostate cancer cell growth.
  3. Conjugated linolenic acid may also help slow the conversion by taking the place of the arachidonic acid and/or by inhibiting the activating protein.
  4. If a patient has breast or prostate cancer currently then do eat at least two grams of ginger extract per day. I aim for a 5 gram per day arthritis research-pain killing intake – which is about a teaspoon of the powder. I sprinkle on a variety of foods or beverages throughout the day or I eat the crystallized ginger or cook with the raw root as well. Easy bruising, blood thinning properties, are the only side effect that I’ve noticed and only when I’m eating the candied ginger as well as the powder.
  5. Avoiding excess amounts of foods rich in arachidonic acid [ AA food sources], while fighting prostate or breast cancer and increasing CLA and omega 3 fatty acids might help reduce the 5-HETE availability to cancer cells.
  6. Increasing intake of the other endogenous cannabinoid building blocks, the essential phospholipids could help rebuild stronger membranes. Loss of the arachidonic acid as a membrane building block leaves weakened defenses against other infections. Anandamide, the endogenous cannabinoid that contains arachidonic acid, isn’t the only one, so medical marijuana – an external source of cannabinoids,  might not be the only solution to rebuilding strong membranes without also feeding the cancer cells. – Flaw in that plan is that the foods high in arachidonic acid also tend to be good sources of phospholipids – not really a surprise –  half the brain weight is made up of phospholipids.

Addition Dec. 15, 2011:  []  has info about iodine levels in association with breast and prostate cancer rates.

*This list of articles was tacked on the eicosanoid article but it became apparent that more discoveries had been made regarding ginger itself.

1. [] 2011 Aug 18:1-12. [Epub ahead of print] Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer. Karna P, Chagani S, Gundala SR, Rida PC, Asif G, Sharma V, Gupta MV, Aneja R. Source: Dept. of Biology, Georgia State U., Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.

*These articles were tacked on the bottom of the eicosanoid article but it became apparent that more discoveries had been made regarding ginger itself.

4. “Nutritional Sources of Arachidonic Acid, []

5. []
Colon Inflammation Markers Lower With Ginger Extract

*** Two grams of ginger was given daily for 30 days and intestinal lining inflammation seemed improved based on reduced free arachidonic acid (which is released from breakdown of the endogenous cannabinoids after they are released from their membrane storage in response to elevated intracellular calcium or glutamate levels – just to review from a few blogs ago).

6. [] 
Zick SM, Turgeon DK, Vareed SK, Ruffin MT, Litzinger AJ, Wright BD, Alrawi S, Normolle DP, Djuric Z, Brenner DE. Phase II Study of the Effects of Ginger Root Extract on Eicosanoids in Colon Mucosa in People at Normal Risk for Colorectal Cancer.Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Oct 11.

7. []

Prostaglandins Leukot Med. 1986 Dec;25(2-3):187-98. Isolation and effects of some ginger components of platelet aggregation and eicosanoid biosynthesis. Srivastava KC.

“Interestingly the incorporation of AA into platelet phospholipids increased in platelets treated with aqueous ginger extract.”

***** Swish and score – ginger helped the body to rebuild endogenous cannabinoids – AA plus phospholipid = healthy rebuilt membranes and endogenous cannabinoids reloaded ready for the next stress signal to fire them off where they can be messengers or be transformed into eicosanoids or other metabolites.

8.  [/]

** I should have just read this one first. It seems that prostate cancer eats only a metabolite of arachidonic acid – which itself is a building block of endogenous cannabinoids and strong membranes. It would be to the cancer cell’s advantage to have learned how to use the body’s own system to mobilize resources as a way to get nutrients for themselves. The cancer cell can make the enzyme that activates vitamin 25-D to hormone 1,25-D; hormone 1,25-D signals the bones to release calcium; increased intracellular levels of calcium signal the release of endogenous cannabinoids from membrane storage – arachidonic acid and free phospholipids – cancer food. In the placenta they would have become nutrients for the fetus.

9. []
Jagadananda Ghosh and Charles E. Myers, Inhibition of arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase triggers massive apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 October 27; 95(22): 13182–13187.    ***I think this might be the research mentioned in the previous link.

10. []
Cancer. 2001 Feb 15;91(4):737-43. Lipoxygenase-5 is overexpressed in prostate adenocarcinoma. Gupta S, Srivastava M, Ahmad N, Sakamoto K, Bostwick DG, Mukhtar H.

***Aha, the problem – the prostate cancer cells have learned how to signal the body to make the 5-Lipoxygenase so more ginger for men as a preventative and if prostate cancer is already present then excess intake of arachidonic acid foods may not be good.

11.  [] Myers CE, Ghosh J Lipoxygenase inhibition in prostate cancer.. Eur Urol. 1999;35(5-6):395-8.
12. [ncbi.nlm.nih] Carcinogenesis. 2011 Jun;32(6):822-8. Epub 2011 Mar 10. Enhanced formation of 5-oxo-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid by cancer cells in response to oxidative stress, docosahexaenoic acid and neutrophil-derived 5-hydroxy-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid. Grant GE, Rubino S, Gravel S, Wang X, Patel P, Rokach J, Powell WS.

***Did anyone besides me notice that they stimulated those cancer cells with calcium? Might simply not over stimulating cancer with excess calcium be an attractive target for cancer therapy? and cheap? – less calcium intake – more health output? /speculation/

13. [] Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Oct 1;1736(3):244-50. Attenuation of breast tumor cell growth by conjugated linoleic acid via inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase activating protein. Kim JH, Hubbard NE, Ziboh V, Erickson KL.

***Take home point – if you already have breast cancer (and probably similar for prostate cancer) then consuming more CLA type of good fats may help reduce the over-conversion of arachidonic acid into the cancer friendly type, 5-HETE.
Disclaimer: This is provided for informational purposes. Please see a health professional for the purposes of individual health care.