Articles

Dose effects of flaxseed and its lignan on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mammary tumorigenesis in rats

Author

Rickard SE, Yuan YV, Chen J, Thompson LU

Date

1999

Journal

Nutr Cancer

Abstract

Dietary supplementation with flaxseed or its lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) has reduced dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary tumor size and number in rats. The objective of this study was to determine whether flaxseed has a dose-dependent effect on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced mammary tumor promotion and whether this effect can be attributed to its SDG. Two days after injection with MNU (50 mg/kg body wt i.p.), female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a high-fat (20% soybean oil) AIN-93G basal diet alone (BD) or supplemented with flaxseed (2.5% F and 5% F) or SDG by gavage [SDG in 2.5% F (LSDG) and SDG in 5% F (HSDG)] for 22 weeks. Although tumors tended to be smallest in the 5% F group throughout the experimental period, flaxseed feeding did not significantly affect tumor size, multiplicity, or incidence in comparison to BD. However, there was a dose-dependent effect of SDG on tumor multiplicity. Tumor multiplicity was lowest in the HSDG group and highest in the LSDG group throughout treatment (p < 0.05), indicating that HSDG inhibited, whereas LSDG promoted, MNU-induced mammary tumor development. Tumor invasiveness and grade were decreased in all treatment groups compared with the BD (p < 0.032). Thus, although flaxseed feeding had no significant effect on tumor growth indexes, flaxseed and SDG treatment, regardless of dose, appeared to delay the progression of MNU-induced mammary tumorigenesis. Disparities between this study and previous studies on flaxseed may be related to differences in experimental design, the use and dose of a different carcinogen, and protective effects by the alpha-linolenic acid present in the BD.