Omega-3 Shrinks Tumors

Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumors and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects. The rat experiments provide some support for the plethora of health benefits often ascribed to omega-3 acids.

Professor A. M. El-Mowafy led a team of researchers from Mansoura University, Egypt, who studied DHA’s effects on solid tumors growing in mice, as well as investigating how this fatty acid interacts with cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause kidney damage. El-Mowafy said, “DHA elicited prominent chemopreventive effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well. Furthermore, this study is the first to reveal that DHA can obliterate lethal cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity and renal tissue injury.”

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly found in cold-water fish oil, and some vegetable oils. It is a major component of brain gray matter and of the retina in most mammalian species and is considered essential for normal neurological and cellular developments. According to the authors, “While DHA has been tentatively linked with protection against cardiovascular, neurological and neoplastic diseases, there exists a paucity of research information, in particular regarding its interactions with existing chemotherapy drugs”. The researchers found that, at the molecular level, DHA acts by reducing leukocytosis (white blood cell accumulation), systemic inflammation, and oxidative stress – all processes that have been linked with tumor growth.

Researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.

“If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week.”

You can read more details online at Cell Division. Cell Division is an online forum for and from the cell-cycle community that aims to publish articles on all exciting aspects of cell-cycle research and to bridge the gap between models of cell cycle regulation, development, and cancer biology. This forum will be driven by specialized and timely research articles, reviews and commentaries focused on this fast moving field, providing an invaluable tool for cell-cycle biologists.

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