Review of the effects of trans fatty acids, oleic acid, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid on mammary carcinogenesis in animals

Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Dec;66(6 Suppl):1523S-1529S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/66.6.1523S.

Abstract

I review the effects of trans fatty acids, oleic acid, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid on mammary carcinogenesis in animals. The goal is not to provide an exhaustive survey of all the publications on these topics; such a Herculean effort has been accomplished by previous reviews, which are cited in the text. Instead, the emphasis is on the consistency or lack of consistency of information regarding each of the above fatty acids, confounding factors that may help to reconcile discrepancies in the database, a perspective of the history of the research, and certain unique or exciting opportunities that are worthy of special attention in evaluations of the relations between specific fatty acids and cancer. This review arrives at four conclusions: 1) There is little evidence that trans fatty acids have an adverse effect on carcinogenesis. 2) The data on cancer protection by oleic acid are not convincing. An inhibitory effect attributed to an increased intake of oleic acid could be due to an inadequate supply of linoleic acid. 3) Although a suppressive response to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is observed in most cases, the availability of linoleic acid is likely to be a confounding factor in determining the final outcome. 4) Conjugated linoleic acid is unique in the sense that concentrations < or = 1% are sufficient for producing significant cancer protection and that this effect seems to be independent of the other fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Oleic Acid / adverse effects

Substances

  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Oleic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid