A research review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology has summarized a study on the potential role of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in lowering the risk of colon tumors.
DHA is an omega 3 essential fatty acid that can be found in fish oil and algae.
The international study focused on the impact of n-3 and n-6 PUFA on PGE2, a key factor in the development of colorectal cancer.
Researchers from the Charite University Hospital in Berlin led by Jing X. Kang from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that adding DHA to a colon cancer cell line reduced cell growth and viability during the incubation period.
They also showed that the n-3 PUFA DHA can directly suppress PGE2-induced colon cancer cell growth.
The results appear to support the calls for dietary supplementation with DHA as a powerful tool to counteract PGE2-promoted colon cancer growth that is associated with the Western diet. This type of diet tends to be rich in red meat and deficient in fresh produce, and in addition to being blamed for an increased rate of cancers, it has also been linked to cardiovascular diseases.
According to American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among Americans. Some 150,000 new cases are diagnosed and nearly 50,000 people die from the disease each year.