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Certain genes boost fish oils' protection against breast cancer

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 21, 2004) - Researchers who found that fish oils appear to reduce breast cancer risk have now discovered that the oils may especially benefit women with particular genetic makeups.

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
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Contact: Sarah Huoh
shuoh@usc.edu
323-442-2830
University of Southern California
21-Sep-2004


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