Cancer & Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary.   If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual.   You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.


Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:
Impact on Cancer Chemotherapy and Radiation

Alternative Medicine Review 2002 (Feb);   7 (1):   421 ~ FULL TEXT

Preclinical studies have shown that certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may actually enhance the cytotoxicity of several antineoplastic agents and the anticancer effects of radiotherapy. These effects are possibly mediated by incorporation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids into cancer cell membranes, thus altering the physical and functional properties. In addition, certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may also reduce or prevent some of the side effects of these therapies, and administering antioxidants to prevent polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced oxidative stress may further enhance the impact of chemotherapy and radiation.

Fish Oil Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Aug); 5 (6): 576580 ~ FULL TEXT

Many well-recognized problems are associated with excessive intake of dietary fat, including obesity, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, and some forms of cancer. While intakes of saturated, trans, and arachidonic fatty acids have been linked to the development of chronic disease, research shows omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, specifically fish oils, are essential in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Plus Vitamin E Restore
Immunodeficiency and Prolong Survival for Severely Ill Patients
with Generalized Malignancy: A Randomized Control Trial

Cancer 1998 (Jan 15);   82 (2):   395402

This large, well-designed, double-blind study showed that fish oil supplementation more than doubled the survival time of patients with advanced cancers of the breast, colon, lung and pancreas. The aim of the current prospective, randomized control study was to investigate the effect of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids plus vitamin E on the immune status and survival of well-nourished and malnourished patients with generalized malignancy.

Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Progression of Metastases After the
Surgical Excision of Human Breast Cancer Cell Solid Tumors
Growing in Nude Mice

Clinical Cancer Research 1996 (Oct);   2 (10):   17511756

Overall, these results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may have a place as adjuvant nutritional therapy in breast cancer and particularly as part of a neoadjuvant regimen.

Fat, Fish, Fish Oil and Cancer
British Journal of Cancer 1996 (Jul);   74 (1):   159164

This evidence suggests that fish oil consumption is associated with protection against the promotional effects of animal fat in colorectal and breast carcinogenesis.

Improvement by Eicosanoids in Cancer Cachexia Induced
by LLC-IL6 Transplantation

J Cancer Res and Clin Oncology 1996;   122 (12):   711715

These results suggest that EPA as the pure fatty acid should be considered for clinical investigation as both an anticachectic and antitumor agent, since prior work has shown that the other major component of fish oil docosahexaenoic acid is without pharmacological activity in this system.

Anticachectic and Antitumor Effect of Eicosapentaenoic Acid
and its Effect on Protein Turnover

Cancer Res 1991 (Nov 15);   51 (22):   60896093

These results suggest that eicosanoids may prevent the cachexia mediated by IL-6.

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