Resolvins and omega three polyunsaturated fatty acids: Clinical implications in inflammatory diseases and cancer

World J Clin Cases. 2016 Jul 16;4(7):155-64. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v4.i7.155.


Inflammation is a central process in several disorders and contributes to cancer progression. Inflammation involves a complex cascade of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signaling events with protein and lipid mediators. Recent advances in lipid detection have revealed the importance of lipid mediators in inflammation. Omega three polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA) are found naturally in fish oil and have been extensively studied in multiple inflammatory diseases with improved outcomes. Resolvins are thought to be the active metabolites of ω-3 PUFA, and are responsible for facilitating the resolving phase of acute inflammation. Clinically, resolvins have been associated with resolution of acute kidney injury and acute lung injury, micro and macro vascular response to injury, and inhibition of microglia-activated inflammation in neurodegenerative disorders. In addition to inflammatory diseases, ω-3 PUFA and resolvins appear to modulate cancer progression. ω-3 PUFA intake has been associated with reduced inflammation in colorectal cancer, and favorable phenotype in breast cancer. Resolvins offer promising therapeutic potential as they may modulate inflammation with minimal side-effects, in contrast to currently available anti-inflammatory medications. This review describes the roles of ω-3 PUFA and resolvins in the inflammatory cascade, various inflammatory diseases, and specific cancers. Additionally, it will discuss the clinical therapeutic potential of resolvins as targets in inflammatory diseases and cancers.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory lipid mediators; Cancer; Inflammatory diseases; Omega three polyunsaturated fatty acids; Resolvin.

Publication types

  • Review