The protective effects of fish oils, called marine n-3 or omega-3 fatty acids, are linked to the cancer-fighting properties of the oil's byproducts, propose investigators from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and the National University of Singapore. The study in Carcinogenesis was published early online through the journal's Web site.
Moreover, researchers believe that women whose bodies do a poor job of getting rid of the fish oils' byproducts are the ones who benefit most from consuming the oils. That may help scientists better understand exactly how fish oils deter cancer.
"In this study, we found that women with certain common DNA patterns experienced more breast cancer protection from marine n-3 fatty acids than women with other common patterns," explained Manuela Gago-Dominguez, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study's lead author.
Findings came from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a prospective investigation of diet and cancer risk in more than 63,000 Chinese men and women in Singapore.
"Through this study, we have identified a novel gene-environmental interaction between certain genotypes and omega-3 fatty acids on breast cancer development," says Mimi C. Yu, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School and principal investigator of the Singapore Chinese Health Study.
The researchers had already found that among postmenopausal women in this group, those who ate the most n-3 fatty acids (from fish such as salmon and mackerel) were 34 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who ate the least n-3 fatty acids from fish. They suspected that lipid peroxidation products-th
Contact: Sarah Huoh
University of Southern California