Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2009 May;9(4):457-70.

Anticancer actions of omega-3 fatty acids--current state and future perspectives.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physiology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, University of Technology, Dresden, Germany.


Omega-3 fatty acids (omega3-FA) were shown to attenuate growth and induce apoptosis in a variety of human cancer cell lines derived from colonic, pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancer. In addition, recent findings indicate that omega3-FA act synergistically with chemotherapeutic agents and may also be used to enhance tumour radiosensitivity. The mechanisms underlying the anti-tumour effects of omega3-FA are complex. Incorporation of omega3-FA in biological membranes alters the profile of lipid mediators generated during inflammatory reactions. Furthermore, omega3-FA act as ligands of nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors that attenuate transcription of NF-kappaB-dependent genes. Thereby, the cyclooxygenase-2/prostaglandin E(2)-dependent production of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor and levels of anti-apoptotic bcl-2 and bcl-X(L) are decreased. Eicosanoid-independent pro-apoptotic pathways include enhanced lipid peroxidation, modulation of mitochondrial calcium homeostasis and enhanced production of reactive oxygen species as well as activation of p53. This review article will give a comprehensive overview over the pleiotropic actions of omega3-FA and will discuss the potential of omega3-FA and derivatives like conjugated eicosapentaenoic acid as important nutritional adjuvant therapeutics in the management of various human cancer diseases and the impact of nutritional omega-3 FA on cancer prevention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk