Fish oils could help in the battle against prostate cancer, new research suggests. Scientists have discovered a mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids prevent the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells. Working with prostate cell cultures, Professor Meier and two students found the fatty acids bind to a receptor called FFA4, for ‘free fatty acid receptor 4.’ Rather than stimulating cancer cells, the receptor acts as a signal to prevent growth factors, suppressing proliferation of the cancer cells. ‘But we’re the first to show that they work this way in cancer,’ said Kathryn Meier, a professor of pharmacy at Washington State University. ‘The attention has mostly been on inflammation and diabetes but there has always been an interest in cancer, and we were the first to show this mechanism in any cancer cell at all. ‘This kind of knowledge could lead us to better treat or prevent cancer because now we know how it works,’ Professor Meier said. The study also found that a drug mimicking the action of omega 3s can work as well or better than fatty acids in suppressing the cancer cells.
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