Change in Blood and Benign Breast Biomarkers in Women Undergoing a Weight-Loss Intervention Randomized to High-Dose ω-3 Fatty Acids versus Placebo Academic Article uri icon


  • The inflammation-resolving and insulin-sensitizing properties of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids have potential to augment effects of weight loss on breast cancer risk. 46 peri or postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer with a BMI of 28 kg/m2 or greater were randomized to 3.25 g/day combined EPA and DHA (ω-3-FA) or placebo concomitantly with initiation of a weight loss intervention. 45 women started the intervention. Study discontinuation for women randomized to ω-3-FA and initiating the weight loss intervention was 9% at 6 months and thus satisfied our main endpoint, which was feasibility. Between baseline and 6 months significant change (P<0.05) was observed in 12 of 25 serum metabolic markers associated with breast cancer risk for women randomized to ω-3-FA, but only four for those randomized to placebo. Weight loss (median of 10% for trial initiators and 12% for the 42 completing 6 months) had a significant impact on biomarker modulation. Median loss was similar for placebo (-11%) and ω-3-FA (-13%). No significant change between ω-3-FA and placebo was observed for individual biomarkers, likely due to sample size and effect of weight loss. Women randomized to ω-3-FA exhibiting >10% weight loss at 6 months showed greatest biomarker improvement including 6- and 12-month serum adiponectin, insulin, omentin and CRP, and 12-month tissue adiponectin. Given the importance of a favorable adipokine profile in countering the pro-oncogenic effects of obesity, further evaluation of high dose ω-3-FA during a weight loss intervention in obese high-risk women should be considered.

author list (cited authors)

  • Fabian, C. J., Befort, C. A., Phillips, T. A., Nydegger, J. L., Kreutzjans, A. L., Powers, K. R., ... Kimler, B. F.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM