Fish oil supplementation improves neutrophil function during cancer chemotherapy

Lipids. 2012 Apr;47(4):383-9. doi: 10.1007/s11745-011-3643-0. Epub 2011 Dec 11.

Abstract

Cancer chemotherapy is associated with neutropenia and impaired neutrophil function. This study aimed to investigate whether supplementation with low dose fish oil (FO), providing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy after surgical tumor (mainly gastrointestinal) removal is able to improve the function of blood neutrophils. Patients (n = 38) receiving chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil and leucovorin) were randomized into two groups; one group (control) did not receive a supplement, while the other group (FO) received 2 g FO/day for 8 weeks; the FO provided 0.3 g eicosapentaenoic acid plus 0.4 g docosahexaenoic acid per day. Patients in the control group lost an average of 2.5 kg of weight over the 8 weeks of the study. The number of blood polymorphonuclear cells (PMNC), mainly neutrophils, and their functions (phagocytosis and hydrogen peroxide production) decreased in the control group (average decreases of approximately 30, 45 and 17%, respectively). FO prevented these decreases and actually increased body weight (average of 1.7 kg weight gain; p < 0.002 vs. control group), PMNC number (average 29% increase), phagocytosis (average 14% increase) and superoxide production (average 28% increase). FO may be useful in preventing chemotherapy-induced decline in neutrophil number and function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brazil
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analysis
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / agonists
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage
  • Leucovorin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects*
  • Superoxides / agonists
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fish Oils
  • Superoxides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil