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  • 1. Larsson, Susanna C
    et al.
    Kumlin, Maria
    Sophiahemmet University.
    Ingelman-Sundberg, Magnus
    Wolk, Alicja
    Dietary long-chain n-3 fatty acids for the prevention of cancer: a review of potential mechanisms2004In: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ISSN 0002-9165, E-ISSN 1938-3207, Vol. 79, no 6, p. 935-45Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increasing evidence from animal and in vitro studies indicates that n-3 fatty acids, especially the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, present in fatty fish and fish oils inhibit carcinogenesis. The epidemiologic data on the association between fish consumption, as a surrogate marker for n-3 fatty acid intake, and cancer risk are, however, somewhat less consistent. This review highlights current knowledge of the potential mechanisms of the anticarcinogenic actions of n-3 fatty acids. Moreover, a possible explanation of why some epidemiologic studies failed to find an association between n-3 fatty acid intake and cancer risk is provided. Several molecular mechanisms whereby n-3 fatty acids may modify the carcinogenic process have been proposed. These include suppression of arachidonic acid-derived eicosanoid biosynthesis; influences on transcription factor activity, gene expression, and signal transduction pathways; alteration of estrogen metabolism; increased or decreased production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species; and mechanisms involving insulin sensitivity and membrane fluidity. Further studies are needed to evaluate and verify these mechanisms in humans to gain more understanding of the effects of n-3 fatty acid intake on cancer risk.

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