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Cancer Lett. 2002 Jan 25;175(2):157-63.

Selective inhibition of Delta-6 desaturase impedes intestinal tumorigenesis.

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Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, 229 Jessie Harris Building, 1215 West Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-1900, USA.


Arachidonic acid is an important polyunsaturated fatty acid involved in cell signaling. It is derived primarily from dietary linoleic acid, and the rate-limiting step in its biosynthesis is the initial desaturation of linoleic acid via Delta-6 desaturase. Evidence suggests that downstream metabolic products of arachidonic acid, e.g. prostaglandins, are involved in colorectal cancer, but involvement of the biosynthetic pathway of arachidonic acid has not been previously investigated. In the present study, we report the effects of a novel selective Delta-6 desaturase inhibitor, SC-26196, on tumorigenesis in two in vivo models of intestinal cancer. SC-26196 treatment resulted in 36-37% fewer tumors in Apc(Min/+) mice and 35% decrease in primary tumor size in nude mice bearing HT-29 human colon cancer cell xenografts (P<0.05). As expected, SC-26196 treatment resulted in significantly higher linoleic acid levels in tissue phospholipids and lower levels of arachidonic acid. The effects on both tissue fatty acid composition and tumorigenesis in Apc(Min/+) mice were abrogated by concomitant treatment with dietary arachidonic acid, indicating that the observed effects were due to interference with the biosynthetic pathway of arachidonic acid.

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