Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Signaling agents for intestinal cancer?

January 1, 1997 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Signaling agents for intestinal cancer?

Year: 1997
Authors: J Whelan.
Publication Name: Nutrition Today
Publication Details: Volume 32; Number 5; 213.


In this review paper, the author presents an overview of the role of PUFA in cancer cell promotion and inhibition with an emphasis on intestinal tumorigenesis. The author indicates that because of the structural similarities between EPA and DHA with AA, many of the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids are related to their ability to interfere with AA metabolism. Intakes of LA and the formation of eicosanoids from AA have been strongly linked to intestinal cancer. In particular, AA-derived prostaglandins have been implicated in tumor development. In contrast, n-3 fatty acids reduce tumor formation and promotion in a number of cancer cell lines including colon, breast and pancreas, in part through an inhibition of AA synthesized eicosanoids. Recent research has shown that a reduction in AA-derived prostaglandins decreases the incidence and growth of tumor cells in the colon and intestine. The author indicates that the effects of n-3 fatty acids on cancer remain to be established but based upon current information, an increase in the intake of these fatty acids and a reduction in the consumption of n-6 fatty acids is advisable.

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