Image source freedigitalphotos.net and Stoonn
Today I want to share with you two studies that both show that flaxseed oil enhances the effect of Herceptin for those with HER2 positive breast cancer.
Admittedly, the studies ,  were carried out with mice. However, I feel compelled to share this information with you because if it happens with humans as well, it is clinically relevant. And adding a little flaxseed oil (or freshly ground flaxseed) to your diet is non-toxic, easy to do, and wonderfully healthy for you.
The research examined the effects of flaxseed oil on breast cancer cells and how it reacted with the targeted drug Herceptin, created especially to battle HER2-overexpressing cancers.
The 2010 Study Results
The 2010 study  looked at how flaxseed oil interacts with the drug Trastuzumab, better known as Herceptin. Researchers implanted HER2+ human breast cancer cells in immune-deficient mice. The mice were given flaxseed oil as part of their diet, along with various doses of Herceptin. In the control group of mice who received neither oil nor drug, the tumors grew unchecked, some increasing in size by 187% over the four weeks the experiment lasted.
For the other two groups, Herceptin was given at two different doses. The tumors in the mice receiving the lower dose (2.5 mg/kg body weight) did not grow, staying the same size through the course of the study. The higher dose of Herceptin (5mg/kg body weight) worked better than the low dose – the tumors decreased by 75%. That’s remarkable enough, but read on.
The mice who received flaxseed oil did even better. The tumors in the mice who got Herceptin at low doses but also received flaxseed oil regressed by 89%. For mice receiving Herceptin at the high dose plus flaxseed oil, the tumors regressed 84%. So for these mice, more Herceptin was not necessarily better.
The tumor sizes were tracked for several weeks after the drugs were stopped and the results got more interesting. The benefit seen in the low dose Herceptin plus flaxseed oil mice continued to increase even after stopping the drug, so that two weeks after the drug was stopped the tumors in the low Herceptin dose plus oil mice were 87% smaller than in the mice that only received the Herceptin at low doses. They tied with the mice that had been given the drug in high doses.
The study concluded: “Flaxseed oil did not interfere with Trastuzumab but rather enhanced its tumor-reducing effects and combined flaxseed oil and low dose Trastuzumab was as effective as high dose Trastuzumab treatment.”
That’s very good news – it appears as though a person could tolerate a lower dose of Herceptin if they combined it with flaxseed oil – thus reducing toxicity and increasing effectiveness.
The 2015 Study Results
If you’re wondering how the tumors would have fared using flaxseed oil on their own, a study carried out in 2015  looked at that as well. Again using immune-deficient mice, researchers split the mice into three groups – those receiving flaxseed oil alone, those receiving flaxseed oil and Herceptin at 1 mg/kg, and those receiving flaxseed oil and a higher dose of Herceptin at 2.5 mg/kg.
The results of the 2015 study showed that the mice receiving flaxseed oil alone had no difference in tumor growth. However, the group that fared the best and had the largest reduction in tumor size were the mice that had the flaxseed oil and the higher dose of Herceptin (2.5 mg/kg). The combination of flaxseed oil and Herceptin not only reduced tumor size but led to reductions in HER2 signaling which also reduced cell proliferation (rapid growth) and increased apoptosis (planned cell death – a good thing in cancer cells).
Now obviously we would much rather see the results of a human trial but since flaxseed oil (or freshly ground flaxseed) is so good for you anyway, there seems little reason to wait until such data has been published. If you have been diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, my advice would be “Get it in you!” (organically grown, of course)
It’s extremely difficult to translate dosing information from mice to humans, as you can imagine. However, if the data obtained in this study were to hold true in humans, adding flaxseed oil to your regimen could very well enhance the anti-tumor effects of Herceptin. I would recommend dosing at 1-2 tablespoons per day for an average-sized person.
 Flaxseed oil-trastuzumab interaction in breast cancer — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20580760
 Flaxseed oil enhances the effectiveness of trastuzumab in reducing the growth of HER2-overexpressing human breast tumors (BT-474) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25441844
I have quite a few more articles about HER2 positive breast cancer – visit this link to see them all.
I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.
This is a very interesting discovery Marnie. Hopefully human trials will show the same sort of positive findings.
But like you say, in the mean time there’s no harm in taking flaxseed as it’s so good for you generally anyway.
I’ve never had breast cancer, but over 14 years ago I was dx with stage 1V Ovarian cancer. After finishing treatment and surgery, I started following the Johanna Budwig protocol (loosely) using 3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil, 6 tablespoons of fat-free cottage cheese and 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds (2 tablespoons before grinding) – over fresh fruit. So, for the last 14+ years I’ve been taking this wonderful stuff every single day for breakfast. I should add – sweetened with either honey or Stevia and cut out sugar and bad fats (only use flaxseed oil and coconut oil). Thankfully I’m still enjoying remission:-)
Fabulous! My father first introduced me to the Johanna Budwig protocol and I also used it when I was going through breast cancer. It just felt right – like my body needed it – and although I don’t believe that this is the only way to heal from cancer, it is definitely an integral part. Thanks for sharing with us!
I can recommend the budwig muslie for breakfast too. I started this one month before my cancer diagnoses as I suspected the lump was for real as my c reactive was elevated for the first time in my life. You don’t feel hungry till lunch time (I have walnuts and organic coconut with a little Jarrah active honey on mine) Aside from the possible cancer benefit, I have found that my arthritis has eased, I have had no antihistamines and hardly any asthma puffers since using it. The only time that I needed my puffer was in hospital and not on flax. Do not take flax oil or seeds before an op or you will bleed. A couple of days ago I had to have the CT and bone scans done and boy I bleed so much the radiographer nurse asked me if I was on blood thinners. I really believe that the flax oil and quark works better at a cellular level compared to fish oil. I have taken fish oil for years and have not had this remarkable benefit. That is my opinion anyway. x
Thanks for your testimonial! Yes it is quite true that ground flaxseed is excellent for so many aspects of health, it is a potent anti-inflammatory, hence the easing of your arthritis and asthma, which are both inflammatory conditions (as is cancer, obviously). I agree with you that flaxseed and quark/cottage cheese works better than fish oil. I would just recommend buying organic whenever you can. Thanks for sharing!
What about using this protocol for estrogen positive cancer? There seems to be contradictory information out there regarding using flax seeds/oil with this type of cancer due to flax’ estrogenic properties. Not sure how to reconcile this?
I apologize for the delay in responding to you, I was away for a short break. Yes, you are quite correct, there is a lot of contradictory information about the supposed estrogenic properties of flaxseed but I can assure you that this is OLD information, quite outdated and I am doing my best to educate people that it just isn’t true. Please see my article: https://marnieclark.com/fatigue-in-breast-cancer-survivors-linked-to-inflammation/ In this article, I have links to research proving the fantastic benefits that flaxseed offers for those fighting breast cancer (and yes, estrogen receptor positive is included). Please have a look at some of that research and if you still have questions, feel free to contact me. You might also like to sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books, full of my best information. You can do that from any page on my website. I hope this helps you with your question.
Hi marnie , my sister have 4 th stage breast cancer and she currently taking conventional tratment like radiothearpy , herceptin and horminal thearpy , would you like to advice her to take flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed in her daily meal , is it gv her any benfits to treat her Er and pr and her postive cancer pl reply thanx alot in advance this is jignesh from india mumbai
I apologize for the delay in responding, I have been away. I’m sorry to hear about your sister. I would definitely recommend that your sister include flaxseed oil/ground flaxseed in her daily regimen. It will definitely help her. However, I would not recommend that she ONLY do this to help herself heal. Have you or she signed up for my free newsletters and ebooks which teach people the best ways to heal from breast cancer and keep away recurrences? You can sign up from any page on my website. Thanks for helping your sister, Jignesh. That makes you an amazing person.
Thanx marnie for your such a honest reply will surely try to start flax seed oil and cotton cheese as like dr . Budwing diet also have already started conventional treatment herceptin and oral chemo capacitabine and result is quite good, sister is improving little bit not so much great but hope she will get well soon …also i have subscribed to your news letter as well thanx a lot again for your kind reply
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