The anti-cancer activity of vanadium and fish oil has been shown in a large number of studies. This study was undertaken to analyze the combined effect of vanadium and fish oil on 7,12-dimethylbenz(α)anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary carcinogenesis in female Sprague-Dawley rats. The whole experiment was divided into three parts: (1) DNA strand breaks study, (2) morphological analysis, and (3) histological and immunohistochemical study. Rats were treated with DMBA (0.5 mg/0.2 ml corn oil/100 g body weight) by a tail vein injection. Rats received vanadium (w/v) as ammonium monovanadate at a concentration of 0.5 ppm (4.27 µmol/L) in the drinking water and given ad libitum and/or fish oil (0.5 ml/day/rat) by oral gavage. Histology, morphology, DNA strand breaks, cell proliferation, and apoptosis of the mammary tissue were assessed in this study. Treatment with vanadium or fish oil alone significantly reduced the DNA strand breaks, palpable mammary tumors, tumor multiplicity, and cell proliferation but the maximum protection effect was found in the group that received both vanadium and fish oil and the combination treatment offered an additive effect (P < 0.05). Furthermore, vanadium and fish oil significantly increased the TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells (P < 0.05) but the increase was maximal with combination treatment and had an additive effect. These results affirm the benefits of administration of vanadium and fish oil in the prevention of rat mammary carcinogenesis which was associated with reduced DNA strand breaks, palpable mammary tumors and cell proliferation and increased TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells.
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