(n-3) Fatty Acids and Cancer Therapy

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In a report published in 2004 in the Journal of Nutrition, Dr. W. Elaine Hardman at Louisiana State University suggests that omega 3 fatty acids may be used to treat cancers including lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

The report claims that supplementation the diet for tumor-bearing mice or rate with pure omega-3 fatty acid or oils with omega 3 fatty acids slowed the growth of various cancers including lung cancer, colon cancer, mammary cancer and prostate cancer.

When omega 3 fatty acids were used in a diet along with cancer chemotherapy drugs such as doxorubicin, epirubicin, CPT-11, 5-fluorouracil and tamoxifen or with radiation therapy, the efficacy of these conventional cancer treatments was improved.

The efficacy of cancer chemotherapy drugs such as doxorubicin, epirubicin, CPT-11, 5-fluorouracil, and tamoxifen, and of radiation therapy has been improved when the diet included (n-3) fatty acids.  Doxorubicin is intended to treat breast cancer, bladder cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.   5-fluorouracil can be used to treat colon cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer

It is not completely understood how omega 3 fatty acids help fight cancer.  It is possible that omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids suppress cancer through modulation of eicosanoid production and inflammation, proliferation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, and estrogen signaling.

Omega 3 fatty acids have already studied for their anticancer property against many cancers including lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer, suppression of cancer-associated cachexia and improvement of the quality of life.   Breast cancer women supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids had the efficacy of chemotherapy improved.

The author suggests that omega 3 fatty acids can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy/radiation therapy to improve cancer treatment outcome and slow or prevent cancer recurrence in patients with lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.  Omega 3 fatty acids may be used in cancer patients who could not be treated with standard toxic cancer treatments. (David Liu)

For more information about omega 3 fatty acids, read wikipedia.

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