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Increased dietary levels of α-linoleic acid inhibit mammary tumor growth and metastasis

European Journal of Nutrition Aims and scope Submit manuscript

An Erratum to this article was published on 28 March 2016



The aim of this study was to determine whether α-linolenic acid (ALA ω-3 fatty acid) enriched diet affects growth parameters when applied to a syngeneic model of mammary carcinoma.

Materials and methods

BALB/c mice were divided and fed with: 1) a chia oil diet, rich in ALA or 2) a corn oil diet, rich in linoleic acid (LA ω-6 fatty acid). Mice were subcutaneously inoculated with a tumor cell line LM3, derived from a murine mammary adenocarcinoma.


After 35 days, tumor incidence, weight, volume and metastasis number were lower in the ALA-fed mice, while tumor latency time was higher, and the release of pro-tumor metabolites derived from ω-6 fatty acids decreased in the tumor. Compared to the control group, a lower number of mitosis, a higher number of apoptotic bodies and higher T-lymphocyte infiltration were consistently observed in the ALA group. An ALA-rich diet decreased the estrogen receptor (ER) α expression, a recognized breast cancer promotor while showing an opposite effect on ERβ in tumor lysates.


These data support the anticancer effect of an ALA-enriched diet, which might be used as a dietary strategy in breast cancer prevention.

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We are indebted to Mr. Ricardo Mattos (Instituto de Biologìa Celular, FCM-UNC) for animal care, Gina Madzzudulli (INICSA-CONICET) for immunohistochemistry, and Andrea Pagetta (PhD) for technical assistance with the microscope analysis (University of Padua). We also thank to Martin Fernandez-Zapico (MD) for critical review. Prof. Mirta A. Valentich acknowledges the support from Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología de Córdoba, Argentina (MINCYT) Secretaría de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (SECyT-UNC) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Prof. Chiara Bolego and Lucia Trevisi (PhD) acknowledge the support from institutional funding of the University of Padova.

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Correspondence to Mirta A. Valentich.

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All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

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Vara-Messler, M., Pasqualini, M.E., Comba, A. et al. Increased dietary levels of α-linoleic acid inhibit mammary tumor growth and metastasis. Eur J Nutr 56, 509–519 (2017).

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