Mechanisms by Which Pleiotropic Amphiphilic n-3 PUFA Reduce Colon Cancer Risk.
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Colorectal cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related mortality in both men and women worldwide. Genetic susceptibility and diet are primary determinants of cancer risk and tumor behavior. Experimental, epidemiological, and clinical data substantiate the beneficial role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in preventing chronic inflammation and colon cancer. From a mechanistic perspective, n-3 PUFA are pleiotropic and multifaceted with respect to their molecular mechanisms of action. For example, this class of dietary lipid uniquely alters membrane structure/ cytoskeletal function, impacting membrane receptor function and downstream signaling cascades, including gene expression profiles and cell phenotype. In addition, n-3 PUFA can synergize with other potential anti-tumor agents, such as fermentable fiber and curcumin. With the rising prevalence of diet-induced obesity, there is also an urgent need to elucidate the link between chronic inflammation in adipose tissue and colon cancer risk in obesity. In this review, we will summarize recent developments linking n-3 PUFA intake, membrane alterations, epigenetic modulation, and effects on obesity-associated colon cancer risk.