European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 1251–1260 | Cite as

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intakes and endometrial cancer risk in a population-based case–control study

  • Hannah AremEmail author
  • Marian L. Neuhouser
  • Melinda L. Irwin
  • Brenda Cartmel
  • Lingeng Lu
  • Harvey Risch
  • Susan T. Mayne
  • Herbert Yu
Original Contribution



Animal and laboratory studies suggest that long-chain omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat found in fatty fish, may protect against carcinogenesis, but human studies on dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats and fish with endometrial cancer risk show mixed results.


We evaluated the associations between endometrial cancer risk and intake of fatty acids and fish in a population-based sample of 556 incident cancer cases and 533 age-matched controls using multivariate unconditional logistic regression methods.


Although total n-3 fatty acid intake was not associated with endometrial cancer risk, higher intakes of eicosapentaenoic (EPA 20:5) and docosahexaenoic (DHA 22:6) fatty acids were significantly associated with lower risks (OR = 0.57, 95 % CI: 0.39–0.84; OR = 0.64, 95 % CI: 0.44–0.94; respectively) comparing extreme quartiles. The ratio of n-3:n-6 fatty acids was inversely associated with risk only on a continuous scale (OR = 0.84, 95 % CI: 0.71–0.99), while total fish intake was not associated with risk. Fish oil supplement use was significantly associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer: OR = 0.63 (95 % CI: 0.45–0.88).


Our results suggest that dietary intake of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA in foods and supplements may have protective associations against the development of endometrial cancer.


Endometrial cancer Fatty acids Fish oil Fish Case–control study 



HA was supported in part by NIH doctoral training grant T32 CA105666. MN was supported by P30 CA15704. The Connecticut Endometrial Cancer Study was supported by NIH research grant 5R01 CA098346 (to HY). The cooperation of 28 Connecticut hospitals, including Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, Danbury Hospital, Hartford Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, New Britain General Hospital, Bradley Memorial Hospital, Yale/New Haven Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital, Hospital of St. Raphael, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Stamford Hospital, William W. Backus Hospital, Windham Hospital, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, Griffin Hospital, Bristol Hospital, Johnson Memorial Hospital, Day Kimball Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, Milford Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, MidState Medical Center, John Dempsey Hospital and Waterbury Hospital, in allowing patient access, is gratefully acknowledged. This study was approved by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health Human Investigation Committee. Certain data used in this study were obtained from the Connecticut Tumor Registry in the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The authors assume full responsibility for analyses and interpretation of these data. The authors want especially to thank Rajni Mehta for her support in case identification through Rapid Case Ascertainment, Helen Sayward for her effort in conducting the study, Ellen Anderson, Donna Bowers, Renee Capasso, Kristin DeFrancesco, Anna Florczak, and Sherry Rowland for their assistance in recruiting and interviewing study participants, and Na Ni for her help in SAS programming.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Arem
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marian L. Neuhouser
    • 2
  • Melinda L. Irwin
    • 5
    • 3
  • Brenda Cartmel
    • 5
    • 3
  • Lingeng Lu
    • 1
  • Harvey Risch
    • 5
    • 3
  • Susan T. Mayne
    • 5
    • 3
  • Herbert Yu
    • 5
    • 4
  1. 1.Yale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Yale Cancer CenterNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.University of Hawaii Cancer CenterHonoluluUSA
  5. 5.Yale School of Public Health, School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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