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), www.celldiv.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study suggests colon cancer cells carry bacteria with them when they metastasize

November 24, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Harvard University has found evidence that suggests a certain type of bacteria found in colon cancer tumors makes its way to tumors in other body parts by traveling with ...

Promising new treatment for rare pregnancy cancer leads to remission in patients

November 24, 2017
An immunotherapy drug can be used to cure women of a rare type of cancer arising from pregnancy when existing treatments have failed.

Researchers unravel novel mechanism by which tumors grow resistant to radiotherapy

November 23, 2017
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a key mechanism by which tumors develop resistance to radiation therapy and shown how such resistance might be overcome with drugs that are currently under development. The discovery ...

African Americans face highest risk for multiple myeloma yet underrepresented in research

November 23, 2017
Though African-American men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, most scientific research on the disease has been based on people of European descent, according to a study ...

Encouraging oxygen's assault on iron may offer new way to kill lung cancer cells

November 22, 2017
Blocking the action of a key protein frees oxygen to damage iron-dependent proteins in lung and breast cancer cells, slowing their growth and making them easier to kill. This is the implication of a study led by researchers ...

One-size treatment for blood cancer probably doesn't fit all, researchers say

November 22, 2017
Though African-American men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, most scientific research on the disease has been based on people of European descent, according to a study ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

THEY
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.