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Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Oct;92(5):321-8. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2013-0127. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Breaking the cycle: the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in inflammation-driven cancers.

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a Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Marshall University School of Medicine, 1700 3rd Avenue. Huntington, WV 25755, USA.


Chronic inflammation is a cyclical, self-stimulating process. Immune cells called to sites of inflammation release pro-inflammatory signaling molecules that stimulate activation of inducible enzymes and transcription factors. These enzymes and transcription factors then stimulate production of signaling molecules that attract more immune cells and induce more enzymatic and transcriptional activity, creating a perpetual loop of inflammation. This self-renewing pool of inflammatory stimuli makes for an ideal tumor microenvironment, and chronic inflammation has been linked to oncogenesis, tumor growth, tumor cell survival, and metastasis. Three protein pathways in particular, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), cyclooxygenase (COX), and lipoxygenase (LOX), provide excellent examples of the cyclical, self-renewing nature of chronic inflammation-driven cancers. NF-kB is an inducible transcription factor responsible for the expression of a vast number of inflammation and cancer related genes. COX and LOX convert omega-6 (n-6) and omga-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) into pro- and anti-inflammatory signaling molecules. These signaling molecules stimulate or repress activity of all three of these pathways. In this review, we will discuss the pro- and anti-inflammatory functions of these fatty acids and their role in chronic inflammation and cancer progression.


acides gras polyinsaturés; cancer; inflammation; polyunsaturated fatty acids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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