WASHINGTON, DC (April 9, 2013)Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center have found that omega-3 fatty acids and their metabolite products slow or stop the proliferation, or growth in the number of cells, of triple-negative breast cancer cells more effectively than cells from luminal types of the disease. The omega-3s worked against all types of cancerous cells, but the effect was observed to be stronger in triple-negative cell lines, reducing proliferation by as much as 90 percent. The findings will be presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 on Tuesday, April 9.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish like sardines and salmon, and also in oils derived from plants like hemp and flax. Previous studies suggest these compounds can negatively affect critical mechanisms in cancer cells, namely those responsible for proliferation and for apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Lead author on the study Thomas J. Pogash, a scientific technician in the Fox Chase Cancer Center lab of Jose Russo, MD, says the new work underscores the important role common compounds found in food may play in keeping cancer at bay.
"Diet can play a critical role in breast cancer prevention," says Pogash. "When you compare a western diet to a mediterranean diet, which has more omega-3s, you see less cancer in the mediterranean diet. They eat much more fish."
Breast cancer is a heterogeneous group of cancers comprising diseases that differ on the molecular level. Patients with different types of breast cancer respond differently to treatments. Four distinct categories of the disease are generally recognized. Two of those, luminal A and luminal B, grow in the luminal cells that line milk ducts in the breast and have receptors for estrogen and progesterone (prognosis is generally better for patients with luminal A than with luminal B). A third category includes tumors that test positive for the HER2 receptor.
Tumors in the fourth category, triple-negative
|Contact: Diana Quattrone|
Fox Chase Cancer Center