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Br J Cancer. 1988 Nov;58(5):575-9.

Dietary fat in relation to fatty acid composition of red cells and adipose tissue in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK.


Fatty acids were determined in erthrocytes in 49 patients with colorectal cancer and compared with age and sex-matched controls. Marginally increased levels of stearic acid (P = 0.057) and oleic acid (P = 0.064) and decreased arachidonic acid (P = 0.043) occurred in cancer patients. There was no difference in the stearic to oleic acid ratio between the two groups. Dietary intake, assessed by dietary recall and adipose tissue analysis was also not different. In control subjects the polyunsaturated:saturated (P:S) fatty acid ratio correlated between diet and adipose tissue (P less than 0.01, at least). In contrast cancer patients showed different correlations; in particular dietary and erythrocyte P:S fatty acid ratios correlated (P less than 0.01). These findings may indicate disturbed fat metabolism in cancer patients. The erythrocyte stearic to oleic acid ratio is of no diagnostic value.

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