Scientists Discover How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Cancer Risk
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor
at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have
learned how omega-3 fatty acids act to reduce cancer risk.
Murray et al. created a strain of mice that are genetically predisposed
to develop colon cancer. When these mice are fed a diet rich in
omega-3 fatty acids, their risk of contracting colon cancer becomes
the same as normal mice.
researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids block the action of a
chemical called protein kinase C beta II (PKCbII). When animals
are exposed to a cancer-causing agent, two things happen: Cells
begin to proliferate, and PKCbII production increases. However,
when animals receive a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this cell
proliferation and increase in PKCbII do not occur.
further, the researchers also found that cells with a high level
of PKCbII produce less of a substance called transforming growth
factor beta receptor type II (TGFbRII), a molecule that keeps cell
reproduction under control.
cells in the transgenic mice on a regular diet lacked TGFbRII receptors
-- but those fed omega-3 fatty acids had abundant receptors.
finding is especially significant because low levels of TGFbRII
also occur in many other types of cancer cells -- including breast
cancer, gastric cancer, small-cell lung cancer, esophageal cancer,
liver cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, endometrial
cancer and osteosarcoma. Thus, this research suggests that omega-3
fatty acids may reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers.
Grazian. "Discovered: How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Cut Cancer Risk,"
Altmedicine.com, June 13, 2002. www.altmedicine.com/Article.asp?ID=3387.
Based on: Nicole R. Murray, Capella Weems, Lu Chen, Jessica Leon,
Wangsheng Yu, Laurie A. Davidson, Lee Jamieson, Robert S. Chapkin,
E. Aubrey Thompson and Alan P. Fields. "Protein kinase C bII and
TGF bRII in w-3 fatty acid-mediated inhibition of colon carcinogenesis."
The Journal of Cell Biology, Vol 157, No 6, 10 June 2002.