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Flaxseed: A Good Idea for Reduction of Mastalgia (Breast Pain) and Risk of Breast Cancer

Flaxseed: A Good Idea for Reduction of Mastalgia
(Breast Pain) and Risk of Breast Cancer
Ehsan Shahverdi 1, 2, *, Reyhaneh Niknam 3,
1 Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in
Transfusion Medicine, Tehran, Iran
2 Blood and Cancer Research Center, MAHAK Pediatric Cancer Treatment and Research
Center, Tehran, Iran
3 School of Medicine, Tehran Medical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran,
* Corresponding author: Ehsan Shahverdi, Iranian Blood Transfusion Organi-
zation bldg. Hemmat exp. Way, Tehran, Iran. Tel: +98-2188601606, Fax: +98
-2188212105, E-mail:
© 2017. Focus on Sciences
Submied: 01.15.2016
Accepted: 02.11.2017
Breast Neoplasms
Focus on Sciences
May 2017, Volume 3, Issue 2
DOI: 10.21859/focsci-03021410
Today, more half of women experience brocystic breast
changed in their lives. is accrue most oen in 20 to 50 years
old women and it happens in response to the hormones made
by the ovaries. It causes symptoms such as swelling, tender-
ness, pain and thickening in one or both breasts. Fibrosis is a -
brous tissue similar to scar tissue, and cysts are uid-lled sacs.
But this disease with proliferative epithelial cell has been asso-
ciated with risk of breast cancer [1]. Breast cancer forms 22.9%
of all caner (excluding non- melanoma skin cancer) in women
and made 458.503 deaths in 2008 [2]. So then the incidence of
this, is increasing in the western women. Sex steroid hormones
are important causes of breast cancer among women [3]. In
some previous studies, anti-estrogen therapies suggested as a
good way for breast cancer treatment, with approximately 50
percent of success [3]. A good diet containing Omega-3 fay
acid and Alpha tocopherol, Alpha linoleic acid and ber and
phytoestrogen, is eective in breast cancer [4, 5].
Flax is a food and dietary supplement commonly used for
menopausal symptoms. Flax is known for its lignan, α-lino-
lenic acid, and ber content, components that may possess
phytogestrogenic, anti-inammatory, and hormone modulat-
ing eects, respectively [4]. Flaxseed (Linum unitatissimum)
of the ax plant is the best plant for decrease of pain (mas-
talgia) in the brocystic disease and during treatment with
anticancer therapy.
We know that, estrogen regulates extracellular levels of leptin,
adiponectine and VEGF in women normal breast tissue. e
leptin element increase angiogenesis and vascular endotheli-
al growth factor (VEGF) [3]. Current evidence suggests that
ax may be associated with decreased risk of breast cancer.
Flax demonstrates antiproliferative eects in breast tissue
of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against
primary breast cancer. Mortality risk may also be reduced
among those living with breast cancer [4]. e studies oer,
use of 25 g of axseed per day in premenopausal women [3].
1. Wu C, Ray RM, Lin MG, Gao DL, Horner NK, Nelson ZC, et al. A
case-control study of risk factors for brocystic breast conditions:
Shanghai Nutrition and Breast Disease Study, China, 1995-2000.
Am J Epidemiol. 2004;160(10):945-60. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwh318
PMID: 15522851
2. El-Feky FM, El-Sherbiny IM, El-Fedawy MG, Abdel-Mogib M. Phy-
tochemical Studies on Linum Usitatissimum Seeds and the Nanofor-
mulation of the Bioactive Butanol Extract.
3. Morad V, Abrahamsson A, Kjolhede P, Dabrosin C. Adipokines and
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Normal Human Breast Tissue
in Vivo - Correlations and Aenuation by Dietary Flaxseed. J Mam-
mary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2016;21(1-2):69-76. DOI: 10.1007/
s10911-016-9352-9 PMID: 27059487
4. Flower G, Fritz H, Balneaves LG, Verma S, Skidmore B, Fernandes
R, et al. Flax and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review. Integr Can-
cer er. 2014;13(3):181-92. DOI: 10.1177/1534735413502076
PMID: 24013641
5. Chen J, Stavro PM, ompson LU. Dietary axseed inhibits human
breast cancer growth and metastasis and downregulates expression of
insulin-like growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor. Nutr
Cancer. 2002;43(2):187-92. DOI: 10.1207/S15327914NC432_9
PMID: 12588699
... Dietary supplementation with ω-3s, α-tocopherol, linolenic acid, fiber, and phytoestrogen exerts a positive effect in breast cancer patients (Chen et al. 2002, Flower et al. 2014). Shahverdi & Niknam (2017) suggested that flaxseed exerts an antiproliferative activity in breast cancer patients and recommended 25 g per day of flax for premenopausal women. A recent systematic meta-analysis study showed a positive correlation between intake of ω-3s and breast cancer risk, which had 527,392 participants and 16,178 breast cancer patients (Zheng et al. 2013). ...
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are considered as essential fatty acids for humans. These include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3 ω-3), stearidonic acid (SDA; 18:4 ω-3), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5 ω-3), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA; 22:5 ω-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 ω-3). In the last few decades plenty of epidemiological studies have been conducted on a myriad health benefits of omega-3 PUFAs. In this review, we have summarized structural features, properties, dietary sources, metabolism, bioavailability and health effects, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer disease, dementia, depression, visual and neurological development, maternal and child health, of omega-3 PUFAs. Even though many health benefits of omega-3 PUFAs have been reported in the literature, there are also some controversies about their efficacy and certain benefits to human health.
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Exposure to sex steroids increases the risk of breast cancer but the exact mechanisms are yet to be elucidated. Events in the microenvironment are important for carcinogenesis. Diet containing phytoestrogens can affect the breast microenvironment and alter the risk of breast cancer. It has previously been shown that estrogen regulates extracellular levels of leptin, adiponectin, and VEGF in normal breast tissue in vivo. Whether these proteins correlate in breast tissue in vivo or if diet addition of flaxseed, a major source of phytoestrogens in Western diets, alters adipokine levels in breast tissue are unknown. We used microdialysis to sample proteins of normal human breast tissue and abdominal subcutaneous fat in situ in 34 pre-and postmenopausal women. In vitro, co-culture of breast cancer cells and primary human adipocytes was used. In vivo, in normal breast tissue, a significant positive correlation between VEGF and leptin was detected. No correlations were found in fat tissue. Co-culture of adipocytes and breast cancer cells per se increased the secretion of VEGF and leptin and enhanced the effects of estradiol compared to culture of either cell type alone. In vitro, inhibition of VEGF diminished the release of leptin while inhibition of leptin had no influence on VEGF secretion. The levels of leptin decreased and adiponectin increased after a dietary addition of 25 g of flaxseed/day for one menstrual cycle. We conclude that VEGF and leptin correlate significantly in normal human breast tissue in vivo and that dietary addition of flaxseed affect adipokine levels in the breast.
Full-text available
. Flax is a food and dietary supplement commonly used for menopausal symptoms. Flax is known for its lignan, α-linolenic acid, and fiber content, components that may possess phytogestrogenic, anti-inflammatory, and hormone modulating effects, respectively. We conducted a systematic review of flax for efficacy in improving menopausal symptoms in women living with breast cancer and for potential impact on risk of breast cancer incidence or recurrence. . We searched MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and AMED from inception to January 2013 for human interventional or observational data pertaining to flax and breast cancer. . Of 1892 records, we included a total of 10 studies: 2 randomized controlled trials, 2 uncontrolled trials, 1 biomarker study, and 5 observational studies. Nonsignificant (NS) decreases in hot flash symptomatology were seen with flax ingestion (7.5 g/d). Flax (25 g/d) increased tumor apoptotic index ( : < .05) and decreased HER2 expression ( : < .05) and cell proliferation (Ki-67 index; NS) among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients when compared with placebo. Uncontrolled and biomarker studies suggest beneficial effects on hot flashes, cell proliferation, atypical cytomorphology, and mammographic density, as well as possible anti-angiogenic activity at doses of 25 g ground flax or 50 mg secoisolariciresinol diglycoside daily. Observational data suggests associations between flax and decreased risk of primary breast cancer (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.69-0.97), better mental health (AOR = 1.76; 95% CI = 1.05-2.94), and lower mortality (multivariate hazard ratio = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.50-0.95) among breast cancer patients. . Current evidence suggests that flax may be associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. Flax demonstrates antiproliferative effects in breast tissue of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against primary breast cancer. Mortality risk may also be reduced among those living with breast cancer.
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Recent studies indicate that diets rich in phytoestrogens and n-3 fatty acid have anticancer potential. This study determined the effect of flaxseed (FS), the richest source of lignans and alpha-linolenic acid, on growth and metastasis of established human breast cancer in a nude mice model. Estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-435, were injected into the mammary fat pad of mice (Ncr nu/nu) fed a basal diet (BD). At Week 8, mice were randomized into two diet groups, such that the groups had similar tumor size and body weight. One continued on the BD, while the other was changed to BD supplemented with 10% FS, until sacrifice at Week 15. A significant reduction (P < 0.05) in tumor growth rate and a 45% reduction (P = 0.08) in total incidence of metastasis were observed in the FS group. Lung metastasis incidence was 55.6% in the BD group and 22.2% in the FS group, while the lymph node metastasis incidence was 88.9% in the BD group and 33.3% in the FS group (P < 0.05). Mean tumor number (tumor load) of total and lymph node metastasis was significantly lower in the FS than in the BD group (P < 0.05). Metastatic lung tumor number was reduced by 82%, and a significantly lower tumor trend (P < 0.01) was observed in the FS group. Lung weight, which also reflects metastatic tumor load, in the FS group was reduced by 20% (P < 0.05) compared with the BD group. Immunohistochemical study showed that Ki-67 labeling index and expression of insulin-like growth factor I and epithelial growth factor receptor in the primary tumor were lower in the FS (P < 0.05) than in the BD group. In conclusion, flaxseed inhibited the established human breast cancer growth and metastasis in a nude mice model, and this effect is partly due to its downregulation of insulin-like growth factor I and epidermal growth factor receptor expression.
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This study was conducted to identify reproductive and dietary factors associated with benign proliferative mammary epithelial cell changes. Subjects were women enrolled in a randomized trial of breast self-examination in Shanghai, China. Women who developed fibrocystic breast conditions classified as nonproliferative (175 women), proliferative (181 women), or proliferative with atypia (33 women) between 1995 and 2000 and 1,070 unaffected trial participants were administered general risk factor and food frequency questionnaires. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. High parity and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables were more strongly associated with a reduced risk of proliferative and atypical lesions than with nonproliferative conditions. For the fourth quartile of consumption versus the first, odds ratios for lesions diagnosed as nonproliferative, proliferative, and proliferative with atypia were 0.4 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2, 0.7), 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1, 0.4), and 0.1 (95% CI: 0.03, 0.5), respectively, for fruit intake and 0.6 (95% CI: 0.3, 1.1), 0.4 (95% CI: 0.2, 0.7), and 0.1 (95% CI: 0.1, 0.9), respectively, for vegetable intake. Reduced but nonsignificant risks in relation to soy products were observed for proliferative and atypical lesions. No single nutrient or botanical family was appreciably more strongly associated with proliferative conditions than with nonproliferative conditions, after results were controlled for total fruit and vegetable consumption. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce cellular proliferation in the mammary epithelium; this is one mechanism by which such a diet could reduce risk of breast cancer.