Oral fish oil positively influences nutritional-inflammatory risk in patients with haematological malignancies during chemotherapy with an impact on long-term survival: a randomised clinical trial

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2017 Dec;30(6):681-692. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12471. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Background: Studies suggest that the ingestion of fish oil (FO), a source of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), can reduce the deleterious side-effects of chemotherapy. The aim of this randomised clinical trial was to evaluate the effect of supplementation with oral FO for 9 weeks on nutritional parameters and inflammatory nutritional risk in patients with haematological malignancies during the beginning of chemotherapy.

Methods: Twenty-two patients with leukaemia or lymphoma were randomised to the unsupplemented group (UG) (n = 13) or supplemented group (SG) (n = 9). SG received 2 g/day of fish oil for 9 weeks. Nutritional status, serum acute-phase proteins and plasma fatty acids were evaluated before (T0) and after (T1) the intervention period. Data were analysed using two models; model 1, comprising data from all patients included in the study, and model 2, comprising data from UG patients with no increase in the proportions of EPA and DHA in plasma and data from SG patients showing an at least 100% increase in plasma EPA and DHA.

Results: SG showed an increased plasma proportion of EPA and DHA in both models. In model 2, C-reactive protein (CRP) and CRP/albumin ratio showed larger reductions in the SG. Overall long-term survival in both models (465 days after the start of the chemotherapy) was higher in the group ingesting fish oil (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These findings indicate an improved nutritional-inflammatory risk and potential effects on long-term survival in patients with haematological malignancies supplemented with FO during the beginning of chemotherapy.

Keywords: fish oil; haematological malignancies; leukaemia; lymphoma; n-3 PUFA; nutritional status.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / blood
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Fish Oils
  • Serum Albumin
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid