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Lipids

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 437–446 | Cite as

The Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Consumption on Mammary Carcinogenesis

  • Theodore R. Witte
  • W. Elaine HardmanEmail author
Review

Abstract

The consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Studies in animals and in vitro have demonstrated mechanisms that could explain this apparent effect, but clinical and epidemiological studies have returned conflicting results on the practical benefits of dietary n-3 PUFA for prevention of breast cancer. Effects are often only significant within a population when comparing the highest n-3 PUFA consumption group to the lowest n-3 group or highest n-6 group. The beneficial effects of n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic on the risk of breast cancer are dose dependent and are negatively affected by total n-6 consumption. The majority of the world population, including the most highly developed regions, consumes insufficient n-3 PUFA to significantly reduce breast cancer risk. This review discusses the physiological and dietary context in which reduction of breast cancer risk may occur, some proposed mechanisms of action and meaningful recommendations for consumption of n-3 PUFA in the diet of developed regions.

Keywords

α-Linolenic acid Arachidonic acid Breast cancer Cyclooxygenase-2 Docosahexaenoic acid Eicosapentaenoic acid Linoleic acid Nuclear factor kappa beta Omega-3 Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fatty acids Prostaglandin E2 

Abbreviations

ALA

α-Linolenic acid

ASR

Age standardized rate

ARA

Arachidonic acid

BRCA-#

Breast cancer early onset

COX-2

Cyclooxygenase-2

CYP1B1

Cytochrome P450 1B1

DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid

DCIS

Ductal carcinoma in situ

EPA

Eicosapentaenoic acid

EGFR

Epidermal growth factor receptor

LNA

Linoleic acid

LCPUFA

Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

MAPK

Mitogen activated protein kinase

NFkB

Nuclear factor kappa beta

n-3 or n-6 PUFA

Omega-3 or omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids

PPAR

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor

PGE2

Prostaglandin E2

PGE3

Prostaglandin E3

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

sICAM-1

Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1

VEGF

Vascular endothelial growth factor

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© AOCS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and MicrobiologyMarshall University School of MedicineHuntingtonUSA

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