Apoptosis as a Mechanism Involved in the Anticancer Effect of Dietary n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

  • Simona Serini
  • Elena Fasano
  • Elisabetta Piccioni
  • Achille Renato Maria Cittadini
  • Gabriella Calviello


Increasing evidence has been accumulated in recent years that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may exert a chemopreventive and/or a chemotherapeutic role against the development and progression of several kinds of cancer. The antineoplastic properties of n-3 PUFAs seem to be strictly related to their ability to drive cancer cells towards apoptosis. In the present chapter we have critically analyzed the results that support apoptosis as the main cellular process involved in the anticancer effects of these fatty acids. We have also examined the molecular mechanisms that are affected by n-3 PUFAs and that have been considered involved the induction of apoptosis by these fatty acids. The pro-apoptotic effect has been examined in breast and colon cancer, the form of cancers more affected by these fatty acids, as well as in many other minor forms of cancers. On the whole, we show that the pro-apoptotic effect of n-3 PUFAs in cancer cells is well documented and strongly supported, and it is exerted through many different molecular mechanisms.


Epidermal Grow Factor Receptor Colon Cancer Cell Gastric Cancer Cell Epidermal Grow Factor Receptor Activation Proapoptotic Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simona Serini
    • 1
  • Elena Fasano
    • 1
  • Elisabetta Piccioni
    • 1
  • Achille Renato Maria Cittadini
    • 1
  • Gabriella Calviello
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of General PathologyUniversità Cattolica del S. CuoreRomeItaly

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