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Br J Cancer. 1996 Nov;74(9):1375-83.

Cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells exposed to eicosapentaenoic acid in vitro.

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Lister Research Laboratories, Department of Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Royal Infirmary, UK.


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on the growth of several pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro. This study investigates the mechanism of growth inhibition and cytotoxicity of EPA on the pancreatic cancer cell line MIA PaCa-2. Cells were analysed for cell count, viability, cell cycle distribution and ultrastructural changes. There was a time- and dose-dependent decrease in cell count and viability in cultures of pancreatic cancer cells supplemented with EPA. Flow cytometric DNA analysis of MIA PaCa-2 cells incubated with EPA demonstrated the presence of sub G1 populations corresponding to the presence of apoptotic cells and the blockade of cell cycle progression in S-phase and G2/M-phase. The presence of apoptosis in EPA-supplemented cultures was further confirmed by DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes associated with apoptosis. Therefore, we conclude that EPA mediates its effect on the pancreatic cancer cell line MIA PaCa-2, at least in part, via cell cycle arrest and the induction of apoptosis.

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