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Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb;33(1):164-70. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Interaction of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with radiation therapy in two different colorectal cancer cell lines.

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Clinical Nutrition, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva 1211, Switzerland.
Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Radio-Oncology, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland.
Clinical Nutrition, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva 1211, Switzerland. Electronic address:



This study aims at evaluating if docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) increases the efficacy of radiation therapy (RT) on two human colorectal cancer cell lines with different radio-sensitivity.


LS174T and HT-29 cells were treated with 20 or 50 μmol/L EPA or DHA followed by single X-ray RT of 0, 2 or 4 Gy, to evaluate cell survival, apoptosis, peroxide and malondialdehyde productions. Inflammation- and apoptosis-related proteins were analyzed by Western Blot. ANOVAs were used for statistical analysis.


LS174T was more sensitive to RT than HT-29. DHA and to a lesser extent EPA increased cell death, apoptosis and peroxide production after RT in LS174T and to a lesser extent in HT-29 (p < 0.05). This was associated with increased expression of heat shock protein 70, decreased expression of NF-kB p65, COX-2 and Bcl-2 proteins.


The effect of RT combination with DHA and to a lesser extent EPA was synergistic in the radio-sensitive LS174T cells, but additive in the radio-resistant HT-29 cells. This enhanced cytotoxicity was provoked at least partly by lipid peroxidation, which consequently modulated inflammatory response and induced apoptosis.


2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine; CRC; DHA; DNPH; Docosahexaenoic acid; EDTA; EPA; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; FACS; FITC; HPLC; Human colorectal adenocarcinoma; Lipid peroxidation; MDA; PBS; RT; Radiation therapy; SDS-PAGE; colorectal adenocarcinoma; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; fluorescein isothiocyanate; fluorescence-activated cell sorting; high-performance liquid chromatography; malondialdehyde; phosphate-buffered saline; radiation therapy; sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; ω-3 PUFAs; ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

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