Potential Application of Eicosapentaenoic Acid Monoacylglyceride in the Management of Colorectal Cancer

Mar Drugs. 2017 Sep 4;15(9):283. doi: 10.3390/md15090283.


Background: There is increasing evidence that marine omega-3 oils are involved in the reduction of cancer risk and progression. However, the anticancer effect of omega-3 monoglyceride on colorectal cancer has yet to be assessed. The goal of this study was to evaluate the anti-cancer effects of eicosapentaenoic acid monoglyceride (MAG-EPA) in HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells.

Methods: The effect of MAG-EPA was evaluated in vitro on HCT116 cells and in vivo on mouse model of HCT116 xenograft.

Results: Our data reveal that MAG-EPA decreased cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells. In a xenograft mouse model, daily per os administration of MAG-EPA reduced tumor growth. Furthermore, MAG-EPA treatments decreased EGFR, VEGFR, and AKT activation pathways and reduced VEGF and HIF1α expression levels in tumors.

Conclusion: MAG-EPA may promote apoptosis and inhibit growth of tumors by suppressing EGFR and VEGFR activation pathways. Altogether, these data provide new evidence regarding the mode of action of MAG-EPA in colorectal cancer cells.

Keywords: EGFR; EPA; HIF1α; VEGF; apoptosis; colorectal carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aquatic Organisms*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / parasitology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HCT116 Cells / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Monoglycerides / pharmacology*
  • Monoglycerides / therapeutic use


  • 1-eicosapentaenoylglycerol
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Monoglycerides
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid