Fatty acid metabolism impacts multiple intracellular signaling pathways in many cell types, but its role in prostate cancer cells is still unclear. Our previous studies have shown that the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells by a syndecan-1 (SDC-1)-dependent mechanism. Here, we examined the contribution of lipoxygenase (LOX)- and cyclooxygenase (COX)-mediated DHA metabolism to this effect. Pan-LOX inhibitor (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), 15-LOX inhibitor (luteolin) or 15/12-LOX inhibitor (baicalein) blocked the induced effect of DHA on SDC-1 expression and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells, whereas 5-LOX inhibitor, AA861, was ineffective. Human prostate cancer cells lines (PC3, LNCaP and DU145 cells) expressed two 15-LOX isoforms, 15-LOX-1 and 15-LOX-2, with higher 15-LOX-1 and lower 15-LOX-2 expressions compared with human epithelial prostate cells. Knockdown of 15-LOX-1 blocked the effect of DHA on SDC-1 expression and caspase-3 activity, whereas silencing 15-LOX-2, 5-LOX, COX-1, COX-2 or 12-LOX had no effect. Moreover, the ability of DHA to inhibit the activity of the PDK/Akt (T308) signaling pathway was abrogated by silencing 15-LOX-1. These findings demonstrate that 15-LOX-1-mediated metabolism of DHA is required for it to upregulate SDC-1 and trigger the signaling pathway that elicits apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.