The consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improves clinical outcomes and prognosis in pancreatic cancer patients: a systematic evaluation

Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(1):112-8. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.976315. Epub 2014 Nov 25.


This study was aimed to systematically evaluate results of trials examining the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) consumption on body weight, lean body mass, resting energy expenditure, and overall survival in pancreatic cancer patients. We searched Medline, Pubmed, Embase, and Cochrane databases. We selected randomized controlled trials of n-3 PUFA vs. conventional nutrition in unresectable pancreatic cancer patients. We analyzed our data using the Cochrane statistical package RevMan 5.1. Eleven trials met our inclusion criteria. There was a significant increase in body weight [weighted mean difference (WMD) = 0.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.54-0.69, P < 0.00001) and lean body mass (WMD = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86-1.06, P < 0.00001), a significant decrease in resting energy expenditure (WMD = -29.74; 95% CI, -55.89-3.59, P = 0.03), and an increase in overall survival (130-259 days vs. 63-130 days) in unresectable pancreatic cancer patients who consumed an oral nutrition supplement enriched with n-3 PUFAs compared to those who consumed conventional nutrition. This preliminary study suggests that n-3 PUFAs are safe and have a positive effect on clinical outcomes and survival in pancreatic cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basal Metabolism
  • Cachexia / etiology
  • Cachexia / prevention & control*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Food, Fortified* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / etiology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / prevention & control*
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3