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Could Flaxseed Prevent a Recurrence of Ovarian Cancer?

August 5, 2015

SIU Clinical Trial First to Study Use as Dietary Supplement in Ovarian Cancer Survivors

A new clinical trial at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is the first in the United States to examine the effects of flaxseed supplementation in women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Preliminary research suggests flaxseed can slow the growth of ovarian cancer cells. A number of clinical trials are focusing on the dietary benefits of flaxseed, which contains fiber, phytoestrogens (lignans) and omega-3 fatty acids. However, this clinical trial takes a different approach. It aims to determine whether adding flaxseed as a dietary supplement in women who have been previously diagnosed with ovarian cancer can serve as effective maintenance therapy. 

“We already know the various health benefits offered by flaxseed, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation,” said Laurent Brard, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Gynecological Oncology and the principal investigator of the clinical trial.

“Based on earlier research, we believe dietary supplementation with flaxseed may help prolong the disease-free interval and possibly prevent recurrence of ovarian cancer,” said Dale Buchanan Hales, PhD, chair of the Department of Physiology and a co-investigator of the clinical trial.

The American Cancer Society predicts that more than 21,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Five-year survival rates range from 13 to 44 percent.

The clinical trial will take place over a two-year time period. Participants will be asked to consume approximately three tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for 24 months. To qualify for the clinical trial, patients must have a history of ovarian cancer and currently be in remission, as determined by their gynecologist or oncologist. For more information about the study or eligibility, visit and search for NCT02324429.

More information about the flaxseed study is available on this flyer..