Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

W. Elaine Hardman

Second Advisor

Richard Niles

Third Advisor

Michael Moore


Dietary components modulate normal cellular functions and, in cancer cells, alter processes that lead to cancer and/or its progression. The change in the patterns of human food production and consumption over time has contributed to increasing risk for diseases including cancer. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are classes of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet and are required for normal growth and development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are thought to be required in the ratio of 1:1 to 1:4 on which humans are thought to have evolved. However, the Western diet has greatly shifted from this ratio. The Western diet consists of high omega-6 and low omega-3 fat ratio as high as 50:1. Consumption of a diet high in omega-3 fat is associated with reduced risk for some cancers, whereas consumption of a diet high in omega-6 fat is associated with increased risk. We hypothesized that canola oil in the maternal diet or, regular walnut consumption, or fish oil in adult diet as sources of omega-3 fat to increase omega-3 fat and reduce omega-6 fat in the diet, might reduce the risk for breast and prostate cancers in the C3(1)TAg mouse. Consumption of high omega-3 diet from canola oil by mothers suppressed mammary gland tumorigenesis in the female offspring. Walnut consumption suppressed mammary gland tumorigenesis more than high omega-3 diet from canola oil, and high omega-3 diet from fish oil suppressed prostate tumorigenesis.