Reducing the burden of obesity-associated cancers with anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2016 Sep;125:100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2016.07.011. Epub 2016 Jul 19.


Today's world population has an unprecedented risk of dying from the consequences of being overweight and obese. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are often accelerated because of excessive adiposity. Various biological mechanisms are implicated in the obesity-cancer link, particularly local and systemic inflammation as well as altered growth factor signaling pathways. In order to combat obesity-induced inflammation and the resulting increases in cancer risk and progression, the identification of safe and effective mechanism-based interventions is imperative. Notably, long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) modulate the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins and other inflammatory mediators, restore insulin sensitivity, and can prevent or delay tumorigenesis. Delineating the precise mechanisms by which omega-3 PUFAs suppress obesity-induced inflammation will help identify promising key mechanistic targets and intervention strategies to break the obesity-cancer link.

Keywords: Cancer; Obesity; Omega-3 PUFAs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3