Omega-3 kills cancer cells

April 2, 2009,

Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumours and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects. The rat experiments, described in BioMed Central's open access journal Cell Division, provide some support for the plethora of health benefits often ascribed to omega-3 acids.

Professor A. M. El-Mowafy led a team of researchers from Mansoura University, Egypt, who studied DHA's effects on solid tumours growing in mice, as well as investigating how this fatty acid interacts with cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause kidney damage. El-Mowafy said, "DHA elicited prominent chemopreventive effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well. Furthermore, this study is the first to reveal that DHA can obliterate lethal cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity and renal tissue injury."

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly found in cold-water fish oil, and some vegetable oils. It is a major component of brain gray matter and of the retina in most and is considered essential for normal neurological and cellular developments. According to the authors, "While DHA has been tentatively linked with protection against cardiovascular, neurological and neoplastic diseases, there exists a paucity of research information, in particular regarding its interactions with existing chemotherapy drugs". The researchers found that, at the molecular level, DHA acts by reducing leukocytosis (white blood cell accumulation), systemic inflammation, and oxidative stress - all processes that have been linked with tumour growth.

El-Mowafy and his colleagues have called for greater deployment of omega-3 in the fight against cancer. They write, "Our results suggest a new, fruitful drug regimen in the management of solid tumors based on combining cisplatin, and possibly other chemotherapeutics, with DHA".

More information: Chemopreventive and renal protective effects for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): implications of CRP and lipid peroxides, M E Elmesery, M M Algayyar, H A Salem, M M Darweish and A M El-Mowafy, Cell Division (in press),

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

More than 2,500 cancer cases a week could be avoided

March 23, 2018
More than 135,500 cases of cancer a year in the UK could be prevented through lifestyle changes, according to new figures from a Cancer Research UK landmark study published today.

Metastatic lymph nodes can be the source of distant metastases in mouse models of cancer

March 22, 2018
A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators finds that, in mouse models, cancer cells from metastatic lymph nodes can escape into the circulation by invading nodal blood vessels, leading to the development ...

Could a pap test spot more than just cervical cancer?

March 22, 2018
Pap tests have helped drive down rates of cervical cancer, and a new study suggests they also could be used to detect other gynecologic cancers early.

Researchers identify compound to prevent breast cancer cells from activating in brain

March 22, 2018
Researchers at Houston Methodist used computer modeling to find an existing investigational drug compound for leukemia patients to treat triple negative breast cancer once it spreads to the brain.

Researchers examine role of fluid flow in ovarian cancer progression

March 22, 2018
New research from Virginia Tech is moving physicians closer to pinpointing a predictor of ovarian cancer, which could lead to earlier diagnosis of what is know as the "silent killer."

Probing RNA epigenetics and chromatin structures to predict drug resistance in leukemia

March 22, 2018
Drug resistance is a major obstacle to effective treatment for patients with cancer and leukemia. Epigenetic modifying drugs have been proven effective for some patients with hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 02, 2009
HOW MUCH Omega 3? That would be nice to know. Is it possible to get enough from eating fish a few times a week? Or are we talking huge quantities?

Also, did you know that grass fed beef also has high quantity of Omega3?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.