Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;101(1):192-201. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.088948. Epub 2014 Nov 12.

Fatty acid composition of adipose tissue and colorectal cancer: a case-control study.

Author information

From the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) Unité mixte de recherche 866 (VC and CB-K) and INSERM CIC 1432, Clinical Epidemiology Team (CB-K), Faculté de Médecine de Dijon, Dijon, France; the Institut des Corps Gras-Equipe Nutrition Métabolisme & Santé, Talence, France (CV and NC); the Department of General and Digestive Surgery, University Hospital of Nancy, Hôpital Brabois, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France (M-LS); the Department of Digestive Surgical Oncology (PO-D), University Hospital of Dijon (VC and CB-K), Dijon, France; the Department of General, Digestive and Oncologic Surgery, University Hospital of Besançon, Besançon, France (ZL); the Department Of General and Digestive Surgery, University Hospital Of Strasbourg, Hôpital de Hautepierre, Strasbourg, France (J-BD); and the Department of General, Digestive and Endocrine Surgery, University Hospital of Reims, Reims, France (SD-L).



Unlike experimental results, epidemiologic studies that used dietary questionnaires were not convincing as regards the relations between dietary fatty acids (FAs) and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). The FA composition of adipose tissue, which is considered to be an indicator of dietary intake over 2-3 y because of the slow turnover rate, appears promising but has so far been rarely used to explore the relation between CRC and exogenous or endogenously produced FAs.


In this case-control study, we aimed to investigate associations between risk of CRC and the FA composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue and product-to-precursor ratios as indexes of enzymatic activities.


From 2008 to 2011, we recruited 203 cases with newly diagnosed CRC and elective surgery with a curative intent and 223 control subjects with planned abdominal surgery for benign disease and no history of CRC or polyp resection. During surgery, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were optimally collected, stored, and analyzed by using high-performance gas chromatography. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate ORs for CRC in relation to individual FAs divided into tertiles according to the FA distribution in controls.


After adjustment, significant positive associations with CRC risk were observed in highest compared with lowest tertiles of 16:1n-9 (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.00, 3.06; P-trend = 0.045), 20:3n-6 (OR: 1.79; 95% CI: 1.01, 3.17; P-trend = 0.038), 22:5n-3 (OR: 1.82; 95% CI: 1.06, 3.12; P-trend = 0.023), and the ratio of 18:2n-6 to 18:3n-3 (OR: 2.34; 95% CI: 1.37, 3.98; P-trend = 0.001). Significant inverse associations were observed for 18:3n-3 (OR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.81; P-trend = 0.007). Several product-to-precursor ratios showed significant differences between cases and controls in particular ratios that reflected elongase 2/5 activity.


CRC patients presented higher concentrations of some FAs but lower concentrations of α-linolenic acid in their subcutaneous adipose tissue than did controls. These results may reflect both dietary patterns and altered FA metabolism but require mechanistic explorations.



biomarkers; colorectal cancer; desaturase; elongase; fatty acids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center