Background: Oesophagogastric cancer surgery is immunosuppressive. This may be modulated by omega-3 fatty acids (O-3FAs). The aim of this study was to assess the effect of perioperative O-3FAs on clinical outcome and immune function after oesophagogastric cancer surgery.
Methods: Patients undergoing subtotal oesophagectomy and total gastrectomy were recruited and allocated randomly to an O-3FA enteral immunoenhancing diet (IED) or standard enteral nutrition (SEN) for 7 days before and after surgery, or to postoperative supplementation alone (control group). Clinical outcome, fatty acid concentrations, and HLA-DR expression on monocytes and activated T lymphocytes were determined before and after operation.
Results: Of 221 patients recruited, 26 were excluded. Groups (IED, 66; SEN, 63; control, 66) were matched for age, malnutrition and co-morbidity. There were no differences in morbidity (P = 0·646), mortality (P = 1·000) or hospital stay (P = 0·701) between the groups. O-3FA concentrations were higher in the IED group after supplementation (P < 0·001). The ratio of omega-6 fatty acid to O-3FA was 1·9:1, 4·1:1 and 4·8:1 on the day before surgery in the IED, SEN and control groups (P < 0·001). There were no differences between the groups in HLA-DR expression in either monocytes (P = 0·538) or activated T lymphocytes (P = 0·204).
Conclusion: Despite a significant increase in plasma concentrations of O-3FA, immunonutrition with O-3FA did not affect overall HLA-DR expression on leucocytes or clinical outcome following oesophagogastric cancer surgery.
Registration number: ISRCTN43730758 (http://www.controlled-trials.com).
Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.