Omega-3 polyunsaturated Fatty acids as potential chemopreventive agent for gastrointestinal cancer

J Cancer Prev. 2013 Sep;18(3):201-8. doi: 10.15430/jcp.2013.18.3.201.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), particularly eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), has been acknowledged as essential very long-chain fatty acids contributing to either achieving optimal health or protection against diseases, and even longevity. Recent high impact studies dealing with EPA and DHA have sparked a renewed interest in using n-3 PUFAs for cancer prevention and cancer treatment, for which n-3 PUFAs may exert their anticancer actions by influencing multiple targets implicated in various stages of cancer development, including cell proliferation, cell survival, angiogenesis, inflammation, and metastasis against various cancers. However, gastrointestinal cancers develop implicated with the close connection between inflammation and cancer and n-3 PUFAs especially imposed excellent actions of antiinflammation and antioxidation as well as their restorative actions. In detail, these beneficial lipids can restore or modify inflammation-associated lipid distorsion and alteration of lipid rafts. Although the chemopreventive effect of n-3 PUFAs has been studied in various experimental models, our understanding regarding the underlying mechanisms of n-3 PUFAs against GI cancer is still limited. In this review article, we described the in-detailed perspective and underlying mechanism of n-3 PUFAs application for GI cancers and added in vivo efficacy of n-3 PUFAs with Fat-1 transgenic mice experience. We suggest that future work should consider the n-6/n-3 FA ratio, combination treatment of other nutritions and alteration of lipid rafts to be a key element in experimental design and analysis.

Keywords: Chemoprevention; Fat-1 transgenic mice; Gastrointestinal cancer; Lipid rafts; Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review