A Failing Chemotherapy Paradigm Looks To Flaxseed For Help

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When conventional cancer medicine fails to produce positive outcomes, a humble little seed comes to the rescue. 

A study published in the International Journal of Oncology illustrates an important shift occurring in cancer research today, namely, a growing recognition that conventional treatments like chemotherapy, taken alone, are failing to produce sufficiently positive results, and that the use of natural substances may be an indispensable way to improve outcomes. 

In the study titled, Combining doxorubicin with a phenolic extract from flaxseed oil: Evaluation of the effect on two breast cancer cell lines, Italian researchers sought to evaluate the possible synergistic role of an extract of flaxseed in combination with the conventional chemo-drug doxorubicin in a number of breast cancer cell lines. 

They also noted that doxorubicin, a commonly used cancer drug listed by the WHO as an essential medicine for cancer, is notorious for its many side effects. You can review the primary literature on dozens of doxorubicin's extremely toxic side effects on our database. The researchers hypothesized that one way around this problem would be to reduce the amount of doxorubicin used by combining it with a safer, more natural compound. 

In a previous study cited, the researchers showed a phenolic extract of flaxseed oil resulted in a number of chemotherapeutic effects (increase in apoptosis, G0/G1 phase cell cycle, and the activation of signaling and pro‑oxidant pathways). The more recent study looked at the combined effect of doxorubicin and a phenolic extract of flaxseed oil on two different breast cancer cell lines, focusing on what conditions are ideal for using lower doses doxorubicin. They reported the experiment a success:

“We report the data relating to the ability of this mixture to induce cytotoxicity and apoptosis, cell cycle modification, mitochondrial membrane depolarization and activation of extrinsic and/or intrinsic apoptotic pathway.”

While this is only a preliminary investigation, and does not have the gravitas of a human clinical trial (which for reasons that may be obvious, will unlikely receive the necessary funding), flaxseed has been subject to extensive research on its chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic properties. We're reported on this in depth in previous articles, such as: 

We have also done a lot of advocacy around the topic of conventional treatment failure, including the problems of cancer overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and the failure of modern oncology to address the root causes of cancer and the role that cancer stem cells play in the process of carcinogenesis and treatment failure. For more information on integrative approaches to cancer treatment, read my article: Integrative Cancer Research: Surviving Chemo & Radiation.

There is a profound shift occurring in the medical research community today. With the growing awareness that food is not just a source of energy and material building blocks for the body, but capable of being a form of medicinal or nutrigenomic information, it is no longer considered far fetched to look at something as commonplace, and benign as flaxseed as having disease-resolving power on a root cause level. 

For more information on flaxseed, use our database on the subject above. For more information on natural substances that may be of value in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Use our Cancer database on the topic to search thousands of studies. 

Originally published: 2017-06-04

Article updated: 2019-04-08  

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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