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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Sep;59(9):1780-90. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500161. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Incorporation of eicosapentaenioic and docosahexaenoic acids into breast adipose tissue of women at high risk of breast cancer: a randomized clinical trial of dietary fish and n-3 fatty acid capsules.

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Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.



The fatty acid profile of dietary lipids is reflected in mammary adipose tissue and may influence mammary gland biology and cancer risk. To determine the effects of fish consumption on breast adipose tissue fatty acids, we conducted a study of fish versus n-3 PUFA supplements in women at increased risk of breast cancer.


High risk women were randomized to comparable doses of marine n-3 PUFAs as canned salmon + albacore or capsules for 3 months. Pre- and posttreatment fatty acid profiles were obtained by GC. Dietary fish (n = 12) and n-3 PUFA capsules (n = 13) yielded increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in plasma (p < 0.0001), erythrocyte membranes (p < 0.0001), and breast fat (p < 0.01) at 3 months. Women taking capsules had higher plasma and erythrocyte membrane EPA changes (∼four versus twofold, p = 0.002), without significant differences in DHA. Increases in breast adipose EPA, DHA were similar for both groups. Higher BMI correlated with smaller changes in plasma, erythrocyte membrane EPA, and breast adipose EPA, DHA. Adherence was excellent at 93.9% overall and higher in the fish arm (p = 0.01).


Fish provides an excellent source of n-3 PUFAs that increases breast adipose EPA, DHA similar to supplements and represents a well-tolerated intervention for future studies of the impact of n-3 PUFAs and dietary patterns on breast cancer.


Breast adipose tissue; DHA; Dietary fish; EPA; n-3 PUFAs

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