WINSTON-SALEM, N.C./June 25/UPI -- A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids might improve the prognosis of men who are genetically prone to developing prostate cancer, says a U.S. study.

In mice that were engineered with a genetic defect that caused prostate cancer, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids beginning at birth reduced tumor growth, slowed disease progression and increased survival, according to the study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Mice with the tumor suppressor gene -- the gene Pten is absent in 60% to 70% of metastatic cancers in humans -- remained free of tumors and had 100% survival, regardless of diet.

In mice with the gene defect, survival was 60% in animals on the high omega-3 diet, 10% in those on the low omega-3 diet and 0% in those on the high omega-6 diet -- high in vegetable oils such as corn oil.

"This suggests that if you have good genes, it may not matter too much what you eat," senior researcher Yong Q. Chen, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, said in a statement. "But if you have a gene that makes you susceptible to prostate cancer, your diet can tip the balance."

From the July 2, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash